Canossian Sr Virginia Crimella, who turned 98 on Sept 2, was called home peacefully to the Lord on Oct 8 at 10.55 pm in St Joseph’s Home at Mandai Estate.
Sr Virginia, who felt the call to follow Jesus as a missionary, entered the Canossian Convent as a postulant in Vimercate, Italy, at the age of 19 and was sent as a novice to Hong Kong in 1939.
After her First Profession, she was posted to Hankow, China, in 1943, where she served as a kindergarten teacher until 1949 when the communists took over China and she was sent to Singapore.
During her years of ministry in Singapore, Sr Virginia touched the lives of many as a teacher at St Anthony’s Convent in Middle Road as well as director of the sewing centre in Canossa Convent.
She taught catechism to the primary school children and even to the boys of St Anthony’s Boys’ school. She was also in charge of the sacristy of St Joseph’s Church (Victoria Street).
When St Anthony’s Convent moved to Bedok North, she was a joyful pastoral presence in the school and continued to visit the sick in their homes and in the hospital.
Sr Virginia had a heart of gold and was much loved by many teachers and ex-pupils whom she nurtured with love and care.
Many remember her because of her love for the poor. Assisted by some teachers and students, she would spend many hours preparing and distributing food parcels and clothing for the poor who used to come on Saturdays to collect their monthly supplies.
From 1956-1975, Sr Virginia was in Segamat Convent, Malaysia, as superior of the new community.
In 2004, she was transferred to St Joseph’s Canossian Convent where, in her retirement years, she would still walk around to talk to the residents of St Joseph’s Home.
With her broad smile and words of encouragement, she inspired and communicated God’s love to all who came into contact with her.