Hai Sing Catholic puts Franciscan values into action
Students ploughing the soil in the vegetable garden.
Walking through Hai Sing Catholic School, one can’t help but notice a simple vegetable garden with the students all hands-on at the plot.
This garden is part of the school’s green efforts and to also build the character and faith of its Catholic students. After all, St Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary (FMM), the congregation which founded the school in 1959, was one who cared about the environment and wildlife.
Hence, the garden is an initiative to remind students that, like seeds which are planted, their faith journey takes time to grow and they need to constantly nourish themselves with the Word of God and the sacraments.
The garden, about the size of a quarter of a football field, was started by school chaplain FMM Sister Bernadetha with the help of Catholic students.
For many of the students, it was their first experience gardening on this scale in urban Singapore. Their green journey started on May 18 when they enthusiastically came together to loosen and fertilise the soil and planted the first seeds, a variety of vegetable seeds such as long beans, lady’s fingers, cucumber and other Chinese vegetables.
Six months later, their journey has been filled with ups and downs as not all the plants survived and many also did not bear fruit. However, the students showed resilience throughout this process and re-ploughed the soil and replanted the seeds. Over time, there was greater success as the plants grew and bore fruit.
When opportunities arose, the vegetables were harvested, and the students could enjoy the fruits of their labour.
Students shared that the garden gave them a sense of achievement and belonging to the school as they witnessed their hard work bear fruit and they were able to leave a tangible mark on the school.
These experiences connect well with other aspects of the school’s Catholic programme, where they are also reminded that to be a good Catholic, one must serve the community with a spirit of dedication and compassion.
The garden project is now into its second phase, where students are attempting a different variety of plants and herbs, such as tomatoes, limes, sunflowers, chillies and rosemary and putting up proper dividers and support structures for plants.