We congratulate priests and Religious celebrating their jubilees this year

                                                             PLATINUM JUBILEE – 70 YEARS                                                             

Daughter of St Paul Sr Lorenzina Nota

Sr Lorenzina Nota was born in Italy on Nov 29, 1923.

She joined the Daughters of St Paul on March 19, 1944, and made her first profession on March 19, 1947.

She has served in a number of countries including Italy, the US, Taiwan, Japan and SingaporeAt age 70, she was assigned to Singapore to serve as the first superior here. She has been in Singapore since.
During her jubilee celebration earlier this year, Sr Lorenzina said, “I would like to thank God for the gift of my life, my family and my vocation to be a member of the Daughters of St Paul. I would also like to thank God for the courage to leave everything behind and say, ‘Here I am Lord, I come to do your will.’

“Many days, months, years have passed. I have been in many different places, to carry out the mission of the congregation. I have encountered countless people. With my life and with my words, I was able to talk to them about God.

“It has not always been easy. I also encountered difficulties... What remains in me today is only joy and the marvellous fact that God has done great things in me.”

Marist Br Joseph Chang

“Your love, O Lord, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies.” (Psalm 36:5)

Br Joseph Chang was born on Nov 21, 1927, in Beijing. He entered the Marist Brothers’ Juniorate in 1940 and the novitiate in 1947.

He took his temporary profession in 1948 and his perpetual profession in 1953.

Br Joseph has a diploma in effective English and Personal Efficieny as well as a Bachelor of Arts in biology.

He also has certificates in Musicology from the University of Hong Kong and in the Malay language from the Ministry of Education in Singapore.

From 1952-1960, Br Joseph served as a teacher in Catholic High School in Singapore.

From 1960-1975, he was the school’s principal.

He was later posted to Kowloon, Hong Kong, to be the director of St Francis Xavier College until 1984.

From 1984-1988, he was a teacher in the college before being posted to the Marist Brothers’ Mother House in Rome to be an archivist until 1993. 

He also spent a year as a Radio Vaticano translator in the Vatican. 

Fr Joseph retired in 1994 and currently resides at the Catholic Kindergarten at 15 Flower Road. Archbishop William Goh celebrated Fr Joseph’s platinum jubilee at a special Mass on Aug 19 at the kindergarten.

                                                               DIAMOND JUBILEE – 60 YEARS                                                            

FMDM Sr Marie Louise Cordeiro

Sharing my 60 years of Religious life brings many happy memories of joy and adventure. When I was young I was ready for anything the Lord willed for me.

I joined the Congregation of the Franciscan Missionaries of the Divine Motherhood on March 25, 1955, and after two months I was sent to England for my Religious formation.

After my first profession on Sept 17, 1957, I did my general nursing training in Ireland.

I returned to Singapore as a trained nurse only for a year. Our superior general was starting a foundation in Bendigo, Melbourne, Australia, and I was missioned there.

We were a small community of Sisters caring for the sick in a house adjacent to the convent. It was a big house donated to us and converted into a nursing home facility.

I made my final profession in 1962. Our dream for a hospital became a reality when our new Mount Alvernia Hospital was blessed and opened in 1972. Besides nursing, I did a two-year catering course which enabled me to manage the catering department in the hospital. I felt very privileged to be part of the early days of Mount Alvernia Hospital, Bendigo, and I love the beautiful country and the people.

Back to Singapore in 1982, I staffed Villa Francis Home for the Aged for three years. Then I was sent to Mount Alvernia Hospital Singapore where I helped the dietician start the halal kitchen for Muslim meals.

I was also a member of the Catholic Nurses Guild for more than 30 years.

Seasons come and go, and I am now retired. I have more time for prayer and reading, taking care of our convent chapel and the rosary apostolate especially for Mount Alvernia Hospital night staff on Wednesday evenings.

I still enjoy using my culinary skills to cook a simple meal occasionally for the Sisters or baking scones and making pancakes for tea.

I celebrate my jubilee with thanksgiving and with our Blessed Lady I can say, “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour.”

FMM Sr Agatha Ferng

Sr Agatha Ferng Meow Fong, 85, joined the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary (FMM) congregation in September 1957, four years after the province was established in Singapore.

She remembers affectionately her peer group of Srs Jane Koh, Assunta Therese and Theresa Tan [Sr Eileen of the Cross].

Sr Agatha attended a convent school to learn English in order to get a job. A French priest put her in touch with the then new congregation, the FMMs in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia, who could speak Chinese.

She was met at the railway station in Kuala Lumpur by Mother Chrysanthe. Sr Agatha stayed on without returning home, which prompted her father to visit. He was satisfied to know she was happy living with the Sisters.

Sr Agatha is a woman of many “firsts”. She was in the first group of novices who moved from Petaling Jaya to help prepare the novitiate building in Singapore. She was also among the first to help prepare the foundation of the FMM mission in Kota Bharu in 1962, in an almost Muslim environment, a mission closest to her heart. It was here that she made her final profession.

For years, she would travel around the FMM communities to serve with great patience.

Sr Agatha also holds a certificate in accouting.

She now faithfully serves at the door and the phone. Keeping close to God is most important, letting Him lead her “home”.

                                                                GOLDEN JUBILEE – 50 YEARS                                                              

FMM Sr Bernadette Yap

Wearing shoes that fit – that was how Franciscan Missionaries of Mary Sr Bernadette Yap described her first contact with the Sisters.

What drew her were their daily adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, the kindness and simplicity of the Sisters, and their attractive Religious dress.

Sr Bernadette was baptised in 1961, and joined the FMM Sisters six years later. Before that, she did clerical work in an advertising department run by her uncle. She studied commerce at Hai Sing Dewasa Institute.

Her most memorable apostolates at this time were visiting the poor in Bukit Ho Swee, caring for the needs of poor girls there, and teaching Sunday school at the Church of St Bernadette to non-Catholic students.

She was also involved with the Young Christian Workers and Young Christian Students.

As an FMM Sister, she visited the sick while continuing to teach catechism.

Now aged 76, she cannot thank God enough for these 50 years of her journey with Him and for His blessings, especially during her stay in Toa Payoh among the elderly with whom she experienced mutual help.

She was happy when “God gave me back my life” after serious illness, to continue to do what the Lord wants of her. Her desire to reach her golden jubilee has been granted! She has no regrets in having responded to her calling.

The Eucharist sustains and strengthens her in her apostolates.

FMM Sr Teresa Lee

“No strangers in my life.”

This sums up the ethos of Franciscan Missionaries of Mary (FMM) Sr Teresa Lee. Everywhere she goes, she feels at home with people.

It jives with her love for unity in the FMM congregation, where Sisters of different countries, races and nationalities live together – diverse yet one.

Sr Teresa joined the FMM on March 14, 1967. She was inspired by the missionary zeal of Srs Leonora Pau and Malia Kiang at the mobile clinic at Mandai, to do good for others.

She was also attracted to the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament through her elder sister, Sr Maria Lee.

Aged 74, Sr Teresa still lives her life joyfully in acceptance of the ministries she is sent to do. In charge of the Aetelier, where church vestments are designed and sewn, her apostolate extends from ecumenical links with priests, pastors, bishops, and those who come to order vestments, to giving a listening ear and heart to the broken-hearted who come unexpectedly.

Her most significant mission was among the aborigines in the bush at Mount Isa, Australia. She loved her ministry of providing for their basic human needs. Sometimes, she experienced “angels on my road” – persons who protected her during unexpected dangers.

What is important for her now, as she celebrates 50 years of giving to the Church, is enjoying God’s faithfulness and love with good health as long as He provides.

FMDM Sr Anne Goh

It is hard to believe that it has been 50 years since I made my first commitment in August 1967, at our Motherhouse at Ladywell Convent, Surrey England.

I took my perpetual profession in August 1972 whilst I was still training to be a registered nurse and midwife in England.

After successfully completing my professional training in 1975, I was posted back to Singapore in 1976. I worked as a staff nurse in the various wards at Mount Alvernia Hospital.

I held the post of deputy matron from 1982-1984 when I was appointed director of nursing. By the end of 1990, after six years of heavy responsibilities, I decided to take a break and went off to Sydney to have some personal time.

The six months spiritual renewal programme was just what I needed during that time.

It was there that I felt strongly the call to serve in one of our missions in Africa. After some time of conversation and discernment with my superior, I was given the green light to serve in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, from 1991-1996.

After five years there, I returned to Singapore to work as an administrator of Villa Francis Home for the Aged in Mandai from 1996-2000.

After four years, I was recalled back to Mount Alvernia Convent to take on the role of local leader for the community. I was also mission awareness coordinator in the hospital.

After completing two terms as local leader, I was given a year’s sabbatical leave. In 2008, I was back in our motherhouse in England helping to staff the retreat centre.

Currently, I am at St Francis Covent as the local leader from November 2015, and in June 2016, I was appointed FMDM coordinator for Singapore. Reflecting on my journey through the years, I am most grateful for all the graces God has given to me.

FMDM Sr Catherine Tay

Franciscan Missionary of the Divine Motherhood Sr Catherine Tay is known for her exemplary and professional conduct, often coping efficiently while under work pressure.

Sr Catherine started as a teacher in the early 1960s at the Convent of the Holy Infant Jesus in Singapore.

She was transferred to Guildford in the UK where from 1968-1974, she served at the Franciscan Mount Alvernia Hospital.

She returned to Singapore in the 1970s to try her hand at
administration at Mt Alvernia hospital.

Sr Catherine went to Mount Alvernia Hospital in Bendigo, Australia, to continue administrative work, then on to Fatimah hospital in Malaysia. She returned to Singapore to serve at Mount Alvernia Hospital again for the rest of the 1980s.

Her administrative skills then took her back to the UK where she worked in a hospital in London.

Then began a very fruitful period in Australia for the next 20 or so years. This ministry started at Mount Alvernia Franciscan Hospital at Bendigo where she was assistant CEO/manager of rehabilitation services.

In the late 1990s and the turn of the century, Sr Catherine experienced a change working in the tourist industry by setting up systems at Fraynework multimedia.

From 2003-2012, she was a pastoral care practitioner at St Vincent’s Private Hospital in Melbourne.

During this time, Sr Catherine also spent 10 years as chaplain at Victoria University directly involved in a multi-faith mission.

A key focus of her ministry at this time involved setting up the University of Melbourne’s multi-faith centre of St Alban’s Reflection Centre with a Buddhist monk.

Prior to coming to Mandurah, Western Australia, recently, Sr Catherine was a clinical pastoral carer at Agape Village in Singapore, working with the poor and marginalised.

Apart from being a dedicated servant of her Franciscan Order, Sr Catherine finds time to pursue some personal interests for relaxation that include gardening, art and music, and travelling.

                                                                   SILVER JUBILEE – 25 YEARS                                                            

Carmelite Fr Joseph Koh

I was born in Singapore in 1955 and was baptised at the Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

In 1974, I served the army and joined the Legion of Mary.

The Spiritual Director for the Legion of Mary then was Fr Francis Lau who was also the rector of the minor seminary. He urged the Legionaries to attend daily Mass and pray for vocations.

I decided to join the Carmelite Secular Order and attended daily Mass recalling what Fr Francis Lau said.

One day, I had this sudden urge to reflect on the following question: “You have been praying for vocations, what about yourself?”

Almost immediately, excuses flooded my mind, rationalising that as the eldest son and since my dad had passed on (just before I finished my NS), I had to take care of my family. Also, I had a girlfriend.

A Carmelite friar suggested that I join the congregation but I told him that I had responsibilities to my family and that marriage was a consideration. He encouraged me to consider further and invited me to the Philippines to experience the community life.

I discovered that I liked the spirituality of the Carmelites and their way of life.

My mother, however, objected to me joining the Religious life as my sister was suffering from lupus (a chronic autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system becomes hyperactive and attacks normal, healthy tissue) and that it would be a heavy burden for my brother to be the sole breadwinner for the family.

I decided to shelve the idea of priesthood. However, the words of Jesus lingered in my mind: “You did not choose me, no, I chose you; and I commissioned you to go out and to bear fruit, fruit that will last.” (John15:16)

After further discernment, I eventually joined the Carmelite order in Taiwan on June 24, 1983.

On Aug 5, 1992, I was ordained at Nativity Church. I chose two mottos for my spiritual journey and its guiding principles:
“The Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness.”(Rom 8:26); the other motto from St John of the Cross: “In the evening of life, you shall be judged by love.”

To young people who are still wondering about their vocations, do not be afraid to give yourself a chance. I would say: be brave and follow Christ. Respond to God’s calling by consecrating your life to Him, and fulfil what He has requested us to do – love one another.

Fr Paul Yeo

My priestly life has been filled primarily with God’s benevolence without which it is impossible to exercise the priestly ministry with pastoral charity.

The divine design in the priestly life is built-in to include the joys of receiving wisdom from God. The personal reception of this great joy of knowing God is close at hand and to infuse His wisdom has brought the greatest fulfilment in my priestly life.

With this reflection, I continue to look forward to receiving more in order to give more. God’s benevolence first, then congregational benevolence can follow suit. I can give only because I have first received from God.

In the receiving of God’s benevolence and discharging the priestly duties with pastoral charity, the priest acts as a go-between. But moved to experience more than a go-between, God has invited me to be immersed in a journey of adventure.

The definition of adventure in the context of the priestly life is an exciting and unusual stirring experience of bold undertakings. The last 25 years (I look forward to more!) has been an adventuresome journey.

The range of ministries include encountering the youth right up to the elderly and lecturing at the seminary. I like to adopt this outlook of a servanthood for the Lord that only functions as its best when it is connected to His designs. Fruits coming from any of my priestly labours are attributed to God’s hands pointing me in the right direction.

With the communion of saints and receiving their kind assistance, I know that I need the constant and regular tuning and retuning which inclines to God Himself and His plans which will always require a vigilance in reflection, discernment, meditation and contemplation.

The spiritual profits to my entire personhood with its priestly character imbued with the priestly anointing will always be a grateful reminder to me that in God, His benevolence is eternal.

Fr Cary Chan

“To live is to change; to be perfect is to have changed often.” – Blessed John Henry Newman.

The twenty-five years of ministry in the priesthood has been a series of change and growth in my life.

For me, the life of a priest means a life of change: ordination, parish assignments, further studies, lecturing in the seminary, new parishes or ministries and eventually, retirement.

Some changes we seek, and others we seek to accept as part of our vocation and promise of obedience. Yet even when we welcome our transitions, change can be physically, psychologically and spiritually challenging.

We like to be in control and feel secure. Change reminds me that I am vulnerable. My expectations and my reality may sometimes clash.

As I am newly assigned to the Church of the Transfiguration, it will bring along a different experience, with new friends and new ways of doing things that I may have to embrace and navigate.

“For I know well the plans I have in mind for you ... plans for your welfare and not woe, so as to give you a future of hope. When you call on me, I will listen to you”. (Jer 29:11-12)

Note: Not all who are celebrating their jubilees are highlighted here as some have declined to be featured. Compiled by Jared Ng.

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