During the big preparation for the late Father Fossion's 70th Year of Priesthood, my husband George and I were "tasked" to produce a photo slideshow to be screened during the big Mass as part of the celebration.
Father Andrew Wong gave us three huge plastic boxes and bags of photographs from Father Fossion's personal collection. We were to sieve through the massive lot of photographs and select what we wanted to use and have them scanned one by one, the photo slideshow cannot be more than 15 minutes long, we were told. It seemed like an impossible task we didn't know where to or which album to start looking from.
It was later decided that this photo slideshow be made into a DVD as part of a fund raising effort to raise funds for the Church in Mongolia as requested by Father Fossion and as a keepsake for the people who loved him so much.
The 'chore' of having had to flick through all the pages of all the dirty and dusty albums, some caked up with mould and dead insects slowly turned into one of intrigue and fascination! Soon, the dirt didn't matter anymore, and we found ourselves immersed in the life of a true and dedicated missionary of an age past.
The photographs tell of the man his energy, his dedication, his humility and sincerity, and his love for God and His people especially the youth. Whatever the occasion, you would find Father Fossion there! All his photo albums were carefully labeled with the dates and occasion written on them in his very own handwriting. It was no wonder that his funeral wake, memorial service and funeral Mass were attended by so many, many, many people whom he had inspired and touched!
I will always treasure the moments that I had with the great man himself a couple of weeks before he left for Heaven. He showed me the huge, beautiful butterfly that had made its home in his room a few days before and refused to leave. He was fascinated with it and happy to have such a friend, he told me. I wonder if it is still there, in his room.
He talked about Mongolia, and even aged 92 was able to remember the year and at what age he was when the photographs were taken. I was spellbound. I was told his eyesight and hearing were failing and didn't know how much he could see or hear yet he viewed the DVD attentively with his signature pipe in his mouth. â€˜Wow, like Prime Minister la!" he exclaimed after viewing, and gave me the most affectionate smile.
A few days later, I received a "Thank You" note written and personally signed by Father Fossion thanking all the people for the funds raised for the church in Mongolia. It must have taken him a tremendous amount of effort and strength to write the note in his weak condition. I was truly touched and humbled by his sincere and kind gesture. His great love for the Church in Mongolia, one of his earlier missions is beyond comprehension.
I wonder what about Mongolia is so special that it had captivated Father Fossion's heart all these years and had him hold her so dear even till the last days of his life! It makes my family and I yearn for a taste of this mystic country, a land of beautiful wild horses, too!
It is an honour for George and I and my two teenage kids to experience the life of such a great man of God through his collection of photographs accumulated over the years. In allowing us to use his photographs, our dear and beloved Father Fossion had also in his last mission given all the people he loved in Singapore and afar an opportunity to reflect on the past, and be inspired and rejuvenated in spirit.
You are truly a KNIGHT in Christ's Army, Father Louis Fossion! Thank you so much for giving us so much of yourself. You will be dearly missed.