THE Missionaries of Charity's "Gift of Love" Home for the aged sick and destitute was officially blessed and opened, promptly on Mar 25, as instructed by Mother Teresa.
Before she left Singapore after her four-day visit in January, Mother Teresa had left specific instructions that her Sisters should move out of their smaller Irving Road quarters, known as the Madonna Home, and into the Ponggol Home by Mar 25. Mother had wanted the opening to coincide with the feast of the Annunciation of Our Lady.
Officials from Singapore's Catholic Welfare Services and the Missionaries of Charity (MC) Sisters and Brothers have been working hard to make sure that the Home, situated within the premises of St Anne's Church in Ponggol, opened right on time.
A crowd of about 300 Coworkers, well-wishers, priests and religious, some coming from as far off as Johor Bahru,
jammed the small chapel of the new Home to witness the official blessing by Singapore's Archbishop Gregory Yong and to participate in a Mass concelebrated by 14 priests.
During his homily, Archbishop Yong praised the work of the Missionaries of Charity, calling them "true evangelists" because they served the "most needy".
After the Mass many took the opportunity to tour the Home which once housed the classrooms of the now defunct Meng Teck School.
The classrooms, later used as meeting-rooms as part of the St Anne's Church Centre, have now been converted into men's and ladies' wards, a mortuary, chapel, resting quarters for the Sisters, kitchen, storeroom, clinic and dispensary and toilets.
Fresh blue and white paint, the colours of the MC Sisters, has been added and there is bed-space for 60 men and women inmates. There are at present only 21 inmates.
Sister Mary Regine, Superior of the MC Sisters, later said that their presence has been well-received by St Anne's parish priest, Fr Cyril Lee.
"He was very nice and helpful. He brought us round to show us the building. I don't know what the hullabaloo was all about in the newspapers," she said. Sister was referring to local press reports over an apparent misunderstanding between Archbishop Yong and Fr Cyril Lee over the use of building.
Sister Regine also said that she hoped renovation-work on the Home would be completed within the next two months so that more inmates can be admitted. The inmates are taken mainly from the Woodlands Home for the Aged where two of the six MC Sisters spend most of their days, nursing the more neglected cases.
The Home offers its services free to those who are sick, destitute and dying regardless of race or religion.
The MC Sisters will be joined soon by three MC Brothers once the defunct Ministry of Health's Maternal and Child Care building is renovated. The building, just behind the Gift of Love Home, has been designated as the Brothers' quarters.
The Catholic News, Sunday, Apri 19, 1987 (page 5)