THANK YOU for the article on our recent visit ("Filipino nuns impressed with Singapore church", CN, Sep 17). We appreciate the interest shown by CatholicNews concerning our experiences of the multicultural and inter- religious contexts of Singapore today.

There are, however, a few points we wish to clarify: First, we were all thoroughly prepared and keenly aware that we were entering an entirely different context from that of the Philippines. Therefore, our "comparisons" were not evaluative (i.e., which is better), but rather descriptive in nature.

And so we found such richness in Singapore, and this, in turn, gave us an appreciation of other, differing treasures back home in the Philippines. The end result was an experience of true enrichment, akin to what Jesus called "the hundredfold".

Second, it wasn't only the Singapore Buddhist Lodge that was "exceptionally welcoming" - what was extraordinary was that all the temples and the mosque that we visited, without exception, welcomed us so lavishly, so warmly it was an altogether moving and overwhelming experience. We are, until now, deeply and profoundly grateful and awed at everyone's goodness.

We would like to thank them again through your paper. Our visit has been a grace-filled experience for us all and we were really inspired by the Singapore church. In a very real way our Singapore visit has inspired us to a greater understanding and love of our own Philippine church.

We honour the deep roots of our faith, planted 500 years ago by Spanish missionaries, even as we feel its challenges and appreciate its prophetic role in Asia and the world today. The gift of our Singapore experience is to realize, in a new and broader way, how good and faithful God truly is, and that there is, indeed, so much to hope for, so much to rejoice in our world.

Once again, to your paper and to the people of Singapore: Thank you very much. May the Good Lord bless you all.

The Religious of the Cenacle

Philippines-Singapore Region

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