MARCH 22, 2015, Vol 65, No 06

LifeSprings Canossian Spirituality Centre is flanked by Bukit Batok Nature Reserve. Within the centre’s compound are plenty of shady spaces for quiet moments, such as the cabin on the right.LifeSprings Canossian Spirituality Centre is flanked by Bukit Batok Nature Reserve. Within the centre’s compound are plenty of shady spaces for quiet moments, such as the cabin on the right.
“Enjoy basking in the sunshine of God’s love,” says the website of LifeSprings Canossian Spirituality Centre.

As a retreatant steps into the expansive, serene and carefully tended space that is LifeSprings, he or she would find it difficult to ignore such an invitation.

Perched on a hilltop between Bukit Batok and Bukit Timah and flanked by a nature reserve on one side, the retreat centre offers ample opportunities to encounter God in nature. In the compound itself are quiet corners where one can spend hours in prayer.

LifeSprings has been run by the Canossian congregation since 1999. Sr Louisa Lim, who heads the centre as well as the community of Sisters in Jalan Merbok, notes that most of the retreatants in the place, as much as 80 percent, are non-Catholic.
Sr Joan Tay, Sisters of the Infant JesusSr Joan Tay, Sisters of the Infant Jesus
When was the last time you had fun?
I love fun and games. At our Christmas gathering in 2014,  we played a guessing game to identify the person to whom the clipped photo of only the eyes belonged.  It was fun as it was not easy to identify the person from her eyes alone.

Name an occasion you felt embarrassed/humiliated.
At one of my counselling sessions in school I felt drowsy and my pupil told me, “Sister, very soon you will fall off the chair.”

Name an occasion when you felt God was far away.
When my mother had a massive heart attack and the medical team was treating her I stormed heaven for her recovery, but after an hour my siblings and I were called into the consultation room to be told there was no hope.
Tamil migrant Catholics celebrate Pongal, a harvest festival, on Jan 18 this year.Tamil migrant Catholics celebrate Pongal, a harvest festival, on Jan 18 this year.

The Indian migrant Catholic community in Singapore has at least 6,000 members, according to its coordinators. About 4,000 are Tamils while the rest are Malayalees.

CatholicNews spoke to the coordinators for both groups to find out more about them and the challenges they face.

Tamil migrant Catholic community

“Currently, there’re no proper direction and spiritual growth for the [Tamil] migrant workers. They just go for Mass and nothing else,” said Franciscan Missionaries of Mary Sr Motcha, the secretary for the Commission for the Apostolate of Tamil-Speaking (CATS).

She has been working closely with the Tamil Catholic migrant community for the past 14 months.
Children at the East District Centre learn about the articles of the Mass. Children at the East District Centre learn about the articles of the Mass.
A new bridging programme centre has been launched for young persons aged 9-14 who have never received catechism, missed catechesis for several years, or need to prepare themselves for baptism.

The East District Centre Bridging Programme, managed by the Catechetical Office (CO), started in January.

Based at the Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour, the one-year programme aims to serve the needs of the families living in the east, as many parents find it difficult to send their children to the main centre at the Catholic Archdiocesan Education Centre (CAEC) at Highland Road.

The East District Centre currently has 17 children enrolled in its programme.

The CO programme was first launched at the CAEC in January 2014.
SJI International Elementary School has received International Primary Curriculum (IPC) accreditation at the highest level.
The Catholic international school received its certificate of IPC Mastering level accreditation on March 6 at a ceremony on Kuala Lumpur.

 According to the school, it joins a select group of only 11 schools worldwide to have achieved this status.

The IPC is one of the fastest-growing curricula in the world today, in use in nearly 1,800 schools in 92 different countries. It is a skills-based curriculum with a focus on built-in personal learning goals and international mindedness.

Learning with the IPC has a global focus – helping children to connect their learning to where they are living now as well as looking at learning from the perspective of other people in other countries.