Sister Mary Prema (first row fourth from left) poses with her congregation after Mass. Photo by Darren Boon
SINGAPORE – The newly-appointed Superior-General of the Missionaries of Charity (MC) founded by Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, German Sister Mary Prema, was in Singapore from Sep 28-30.
To commemorate her visit, Monsignor Eugene Vaz celebrated Mass with Dominican Father Antonio Gonzalez and German-speaking community chaplain Father Hans-Joachim Fogl at the Gift of Love Home at Thomson Road on Sep 29.
It was attended by the MC Sisters, about 250 well-wishers, co-workers, volunteers, and Gift of Love Home’s residents.
The Sisters manage the Home under Catholic Welfare Services (CWS).
You go home richer from serving the poor as well as touching and reaching Jesus through the poor, said Sister Prema in her address to the Home’s co-workers and volunteers. Remembering Mother Teresa’s firm conviction, she raised her five fingers to echo the words of her founder, one word for each finger: “You did it to me.”
She also reiterated Mother Teresa’s hopes of the understanding that to serve and love the poor and to meet Jesus, one needs to have a clean heart through prayer and through the Sacraments.
“The poor people change our lives,” she said, adding that when we understand what is important in giving and receiving love, “all our great preoccupations will fall into line”.
David Gan, a Gift of Love Home co-worker, said he was filled with excitement at Sister Prema’s visit and described her as “every inch a Missionary of Charity”.
“She strikes me as warm and humble, like all the other Sisters. The Sisters look at the old folks with love. They’re very loving and carry after Mother Teresa’s heart,” Mr Gan said.
Volunteer Karen Seet says Sister Prema’s address “resonates the love of Jesus from within”. She felt touched when Sister Prema encouraged the volunteers to do what Jesus wanted and to put others before self.
The Superior General took time to meet those present – shake their hands and embrace them – as she distributed pictures of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta and medallions.
Speaking with CatholicNews, Sister Prema praised the efforts of the Missionaries of Charity congregation here in Singapore.
“I can see the Sisters are giving much love to the old people who [look] very relaxed and happy. The proof of the joy of the Home is the many friends who are coming to share,” she said.
She is also encouraged that the congregation is contributing to the growth of faith within the local Catholic community by visiting families and praying together with them.
She shared her hopes that the congregation will continue to deepen the understanding of the gift of vocation and charism which Jesus had accorded to Mother Teresa, and to remain faithful to what Jesus asks in the world today.
“My only desire is for the community to remain simple in their lifestyle and faithful to poverty which is the hallmark of the Missionaries of Charity,” she said.
The Missionaries of Charity family comprises the Active and Contemplative Sisters and Brothers, priests, lay Missionaries of Charity, co-workers, volunteers, and a Corpus Christi Movement for diocesan priests. In Singapore, there are currently six Sisters, one of whom is Singaporean – Sister Mary Luke, 20 co-workers and 300 volunteers. Throughout the world, there are 12 Singaporean Sisters including a contemplative sister.
By Darren Boon