Easter this year was very special for the Canossian Sisters as Speaker of Parliament Halimah Yacob was the special guest during the Sisters’ Easter get-together at St Joseph’s Home (SJH) on April 20.
She had always expressed her desire to meet the Canossian Sisters ever since she met Sr Theresa Seow, the Provincial Leader at various functions in the social service sector.
In her welcome address, Sr Theresa said, “The Canossian Sisters are meeting and welcoming a sister from the Abrahamic faith into our community.”
Madam Halimah is also MP of the Bukit Batok East Division to which the Sisters located at Canossian Convent in Jalan Merbok belong. Sr Theresa commented that Madam Halimah is one MP who does a lot of visiting of families.
After a short tour of St Joseph’s Home, the Sisters gathered in the convent chapel where Sr Theresa gave a brief summary of the 120 years of Canossian presence in Singapore.
Four novices from Myanmar, Malaysia and Thailand were also present. The Sisters gathered for solemn Vespers animated by a group of friends and presided over by Carmelite Fr Edward Lim.
In her address, Madam Halimah thanked the Sisters for the privilege of sharing this sacred moment. In appreciating the work at St Joseph’s Home, she remarked, “It is not easy to look after the aged... Our society needs compassion and empathy, especially persons in the last moments of their life.”
Madam Halimah also commented on the passion of the Sisters, saying, “It is something that comes from deep within.” She added that she admires the Christian missionaries, who are one of the biggest pillars of society.
She said the government can do a lot but cannot take care of everything and that it is important for civic communities to do their part. She added that she has seen how the children are taken care of in the Canossaville Children’s Home.
In her concluding remarks, she said, “We all share common values: deep respect and love for humanity.... May you continue to work for humanity and share your love with the needy as you have done.”
By Sr Marilyn Lim
St Joseph’s Home to move to Mandai
Besides celebrating the joy of the Risen Lord, the Sisters also took the opportunity to enjoy the spacious St Joseph’s Home which had been home to more than 2,000 elderly persons over the last 30 years.
It has also been the sanctuary for more than 576 terminally-ill patients who were given the tender loving care in the hospice section as they spent the last lap of their life with dignity and purpose.
The St Joseph’s Home will move out in the last quarter of this year as it prepares for major upgrading to meet the increased demand for aged care in Singapore.
“The home will be redeveloped to provide professional and enabling care to dementia residents, as well as to explore new possible services to support the elderly and their family,” said Sr Geraldine Tan, the administrator.
The project will take about two years and the new home will house 350 beds with a 20-bed hospice, a dementia care unit and a pilot project for assisted living, and will cost an estimated $75 million.
The home is expected to remain in Mandai from the last quarter of 2014 till end of 2016.