Let us be inspired by the unfailing commitment of our priests and Religious for faithfully living up to their vows
La Salle Brother Gregory Lim 75 years
La Salle Brother Gregory Lim, 94, celebrated his 75th anniversary of his first Religious profession.
He made his first vows on Oct 7, 1943, and final vows in 1949.
Br Gregory has been an educator all his life. He came from a devout Catholic family consisting of four brothers and four sisters. Three of his sisters joined the Religious congregations, two of whom are Canossian Sisters and one, a Little Sister of the Poor.
His formation was in St Joseph’s College, Pulau Tikus, Penang, during World War II. After the war, he was posted to Noah’s Ark, a primary school, and then to St Xavier’s Branch School for a few years before being posted to St Xavier’s Institution until 1954.
After this stint in Penang, he was transferred to St Michael’s School in Singapore for six years and later to La Salle Primary School in Kowloon, Hong Kong, where he later became headmaster for a few years.
He then pursued some studies in De La Salle University in Manila, Philippines, after which he returned to Hong Kong and taught in St Joseph’s College for many years. He returned to Singapore in 1969 and taught at St Joseph’s Institution (SJI) and St Patrick’s School.
He retired in 1984 but continued teaching moral instruction and Bible knowledge for several years at SJI as well as taking charge of the Legion of Mary in St Patrick’s School and at SJI. After that he volunteered to go to Japan to teach English in Kagoshima and later to Papua New Guinea to teach English to the postulants and novices there for two years. He returned to Singapore where he is currently retired at St Patrick’s Community.
FMM Sister Mary Ng 60 years
Sixty years in Religious life – more than half a century! It seems like such a long time. However, if one lives it one day at a time walking in faith, it seems like yesterday that I entered the FMM noviciate in 1957. A year later, I made my first vows.
In 1963 I was missioned to Kuantan, in the east coast of Malaysia where I made my final commitment that same year.
Since 1963, I spent most of my Religious life serving in different parts of Malaysia becoming a permanent resident in
1965, while at the same time remaining a Singapore citizen.
In the early years in Kuantan, I was in-charge of a boarding school catering to the children of estate workers in the remote areas. These children would have no access to schooling if they did not come to live in the town. I saw to the daily needs of the children, visited the families and also the families of the kindergarten children for whom the FMM congregation had set up in the estates.
For some years in Petaling Jaya, I took part in the administrative work and management board of the Assunta Hospital.
Meanwhile, I also co-ran the Assunta Foster care programme which catered for the children of broken homes and single parents. They were placed in selected foster homes where they lived in a family environment and continued their schooling. I was also serving as the provincial for the FMMs in Malaysia/Singapore between 1991-1995.
In Kota Baru and Kuala Terengganu, I was involved in parish ministries, catechetics and visiting the families of Sabahan and Sarawakian soldiers living in the army camps.
My main ministry within the FMM congregation is accounting work in communities and assisting at the provincial level.
This is still my main contribution to our community.
I thank God for His constant affection and faithful love for me, giving me graces to persevere in my Religious vocation. I am ever grateful to the FMM congregation for accepting me as its member for the last 60 years and I pray to be a faithful and grateful FMM Sister until my last day.
In 1957, I was called by God to the congregation of the Franciscans Missionaries of Mary. A year later, I received my FMM habit.
In 1960, I made my first Religious vows. That same year, I was sent to mission at Assunta Hospital, in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia. Even though I was not a nurse, I was asked to help in different wards, even in the intensive-care units.
Later that year in December, I was sent to Australia to be trained as a registered nurse and I passed with flying colours!
The next 20 years of my mission was spent serving, in a variety of ways, in the healthcare industry.
In the 1980s, my next mission brought me to Paraguay. But first, I had to learn Spanish.
For the first time in my life, I understood what it meant to be “really speechless”. Everywhere I went and everyone I met,
I arrived in Paraguay in 1982 and remained there until 1995. My time there saw me helping a very poor village with a population of about 2,000 Catholics who were not evangelised. We started basic Christian communities, trained
catechists, youth leaders and started health programmes.
In 1996, back in Singapore, I started my mission at the Filipino Ongoing Development Programme (FILODEP).
FILODEP, started in November 1987, aims to provide pastoral care for domestic helpers through skills training courses such as baking, cooking, dress-making, English classes, taekwondo and hairstyling.
Till today, I am still involved with this ministry and have been recently asked by the FILODEP volunteers to give first aid courses.
As I look back at all these marvellous deeds that the Lord has done for me, and through me, I want to thank Him with my whole heart and soul. Now and always, Amen.
Carmelite Sister Francisca 25 years
I joined a church choir at the age nine. There, I was very touched and inspired by the lyrics of the hymns.
During my teens, I enjoyed reading books including spiritual books on St Francis and St Therese but most of all I was very touched by the life of Jesus.
In 1991, I entered the Carmelite Monastery after eight years of working as a piano teacher. I made my first profession on Oct 4, 1993, and my solemn profession on Oct 4, 1996.
Cloistered life is a life of prayer in depth and in solitude, an experience of oneness with God. I find much support in community living. Knowing there is always someone there when in need but there are also challenges when we experience different ideas and opinions. These challenges help us in knowing ourselves better and where we need to grow, change, forgive and most of all, love.
What is important for me is focusing on Jesus and keeping the presence of God in every event of life. Together with St Paul, I like to meditate on his words in his letter to the Romans 8:38-39, “For I am certain of this: neither death nor life, nor angels, nor principalities. Nothing already in existence and nothing still to come, nor any power, nor the heights nor the depths, nor any created thing whatever, will be able to come between us and the love of God known to us in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Offering to God every minute of my prayer and work for love of Him, for His people and the Church is fulfilling and worthwhile as every moment of my life is being used to the full.
Though I am still very far from perfection and holiness, as St Teresa of Jesus said, “The Lord does not look so much at the greatness of our works as at the love with which they are done.”
FMM Sr Maria Sylvia Ng 25 years
I began my novitiate formation on March 19, 1993 in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia, and took my final vows in 2001 at the Church of the Holy Trinity. My ministry for close to 10 years was to helm Poverello Centre for youth-at-risk, mainly students from Hai Sing Catholic School.
Most of them were non-Catholic and came from disadvantaged backgrounds, of which their growing up years were more challenging than usual. Hence after the first year of grappling with the start-up of this ministry, I realised there was a need for more creative and inventive way of helping … besides praying very hard!
One memorable ministry was a short mission stint in Liberia for two years in 2010. Liberia was still reeling from the impact of a 15-year civil war as seen by damaged infrastructure all over which sadly equally applied to the Liberians as well. My daily encounters with the people, may it be teaching, sharing, meeting or simply walking in the dusty barren landscape of the street, the healing gift of a smile, an attentive listening ear or an outstretched helping hand … were Good News for that very moment.
In 2013, I was called to another healing ministry of anti-human trafficking in our own backyard of Singapore, where I too saw and met people who were traumatised and suffered. A gift of peace with hands clasped was sometimes all that we could give in the dark corners of the street and of course a prayer when all else was not possible.
At present, my ministry is focussed on the migrant scene with the Archdiocesan Commission for the Pastoral Care of Migrants & Itinerant People (ACMI) where we engage with migrants in all situations of life to hopefully enable them to live a holistic and fuller life.
It becomes a faith response to the call of the Spirit of the Good Shepherd to reach out and tend to the wounded and vulnerable.
These 25 years of my Religious life have been marked by God’s goodness and graciousness upon me and I am most thankful for His blessings.
Scheut Missions Father Robertus Sarwiseso 25 years
Twenty-five years in the priestly ministry is truly a breakthrough. I not only feel good about it, I also feel the spirit of the faithful parishioners of the Church of St Michael, Church of Christ the King, St Anne’s Church and Church of the Holy Cross.
Not to forget the spirit of the simple people that I have served before as a young priest outside the Archdiocese of Singapore in such places like St Anthony Parish of Itupiranga and St Dominic of Araguaia at the Diocese of Maraba – in the province of Para in the South of Amazon, Brazil.
I thank God for the grace of being a “people’s priest” through these 25 years of service. As I come from a simple family, my own experiences of sadness and joy have really helped me to understand people’s pains and sorrows in their unfortunate situations and sufferings. I think that this has brought me close to the people that God has entrusted to me.
One of the major challenges that I place at the top of my list is the changing world and its increasing hostility towards the Word of Christ. The Word of Christ is being preached but it is being met with a lot of hostility today. Having to face that in daily life, the hostility towards Christ is a challenge for me.
I believe that people don’t take easily to the Word of God, and having been a priest and having to go through that in daily life, is really like a pilgrimage in the desert.
Mindful of the need to bolster the decreasing number of priests, I encourage other young men to join the priesthood.
There is a lot of work to be done and the road can be rough, but there is great satisfaction in serving the Lord. In this world, people look for satisfaction in different things. We sometimes look for satisfaction in material things, but I believe there is much satisfaction in the Lord, and that is the best way you can be fulfilled.
If it weren’t for the fact that I have served the Lord all these past years, I would not make such a claim.
Trust me and do give it a try!
Please note that while effort was made to include all Jubilarins in this feature, not all celebrants avail themselves as some prefer to maintain their privacy.