I never want to give up my vocation because I love the life of an FMM Sister, declares the quiet and soft-spoken Sr Christine Chia who celebrates her golden jubilee this year.
A convert, Sr Christine, said she was attracted to both the prayerful and missionary aspect of the FMM congregation.
She said the FMM Sisters are adorers of the Eucharist. During the day hours, each Sister takes turns to adore the Blessed Sacrament. There is a need to fill oneself with Christ first in order to have the strength to give Jesus to others, Sr Christine said.
She says she likes to help people. For example, she had brought a friend to stay in the convent after finding out that she had nowhere to sleep after her home was damaged in an incident.
A desire to help people was also the reason Sr Christine had become a nurse so as to “reach out to people, heal them and console them”. She worked in the FMM-founded Assunta Hospital in Petaling Jaya from 1963-1972 before returning to Singapore.
She later took up a course in kindergarten education and Maris Stella Kindergarten would be where she dedicated 30 years of her service to the education of young children.
Sr Christine said she had no problems trading in nursing for education.
She is a teacher concerned for the children’s welfare, say the teachers at the kindergarten.
“She’s all out to help the kids when they have difficulties and will guide them in their work,” said one teacher Genevieve Goei.
Aaran Yap, Sr Christine’s nephew who was in her class, said his aunt always had a smiling face for the kids and was always encouraging them to do their best.
Those days with the children were memorable ones for Sr Christine as they made her feel “physically young and young at heart”.
She said she derived her joy in imparting morals and Gospel values to the children, especially through song and dramatisation. While she admits that the students can annoy her sometimes, her approach is to hold their hands, talk to them gently and help them understand their mistake.
But as Sr Christine is getting on in her years, she does not teach anymore.
Fellow FMM Sister and provincial Assunta Leong described Sr Christine as someone who “works quietly” and remains steadfast in her faith despite the difficulties.
Sr Assunta added that Sr Christine would do her very best in the tasks that are assigned to her, and would accept the challenges with a strong faith and trust in God. She had accepted the “big task” of being the superior of the FMM community at Maris Stella Convent.
Looking back on her 50 years as a Religious Sister, Sr Christine said that she would “still want to become a Religious” as that was not what she wants but what God has called her to be. “If I don’t have the call, I wouldn’t have succeeded for 50 years,” she said.