Sr Teresa Lee, FMM, (far left), seen here with other FMM Sisters and laypeople who work in the Atelier.

By Jared Ng

Four Franciscan Missionaries of Mary (FMM) Sisters and their five laywomen helpers perform a unique ministry at the Atelier or Workroom, located next to the FMM Convent at 49D Holland Road.

Here, they produce Church vestments: chasubles, bishop vests, copes and mitres, surplices, stoles, choir gowns and baptismal gowns. Other items include altar linens and lectern cloths, and banners for Church organisations and schools.

The late FMM Srs Lilianne Lebel, a French-Canadian, and Sr Ciro, an Italian, launched the vestry ministry in 1954. They felt that the FMM Sisters in Singapore could provide vestments for local and regional clergy as a service.

The ministry began with requests from parish priests for vestments to be mended. As time went on, they asked if liturgical vestments could be produced, adapted to the local climate. So it was that Sr Lilianne, with her artistic talent, designed vestments in lighter material. She formulated designs to emulate the liturgical themes.

The workroom not only serves the Catholic Church, but also other Christian Churches both locally and regionally.

During Pope John Paul II’s visit to Singapore in 1986, the workroom had the honour of making the vestments to be used by priests during the Mass celebrated by the future saint.

Although most of the work is done manually or using sewing machines, Sr Teresa Lee said that the advancement in technology has contributed greatly to their work. Computers are now used for sewing certain designs, some of which are formulated using Asian motifs.

Despite their busy schedule, Sr Teresa said they also make time for people who visit and are in need of prayers and a listening ear.

When asked what the future holds for the Atelier, Sr Teresa smiled and said, “As long as there is a need, we will always continue our service here.”

For more information about the Atelier, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 6405 4056. 

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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