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Canossians in Singapore

The Canossian Convent in Kluang was opened, situated on 25 acres of land donated by the Sultan of Johor. Within one month, 300 girls were enrolled. The Sisters also started the School for the Deaf at Canossa in 1952.This was followed in 1956 by the Convent in Segamat and the Convent in Jinjang in 1961.

Between 1950 and 1965, a delegation was established made up of Singapore, Malaya, Timor and Australia. Political developments lead to the secession of Singapore from Malaysia in 1966. Singapore and Malaysia formed a new delegation with headquarters at St Anthony's Convent in Singapore.

Our Provincial House was opened in Jalan Merbok in Singapore as a Novitiate in 1969 with 3 Novices and 3 Postulants. Six months later the delegation's administrative headquarters was moved there from St Anthony's Convent. Today this House has the special task of extending hospitality to Sisters and guests visiting Singapore, as well as those coming for annual retreats and conferences.

In keeping with our Foundress' spirit of charity, the Sisters started another house in Singapore - St Joseph's Home for the Aged. The Home was officially opened in 1978. Its principal objectives are to provide shelter and physical care for the aged as well as to see to their spiritual and psychological needs, regardless of race and religion.

By the end of 1978, there were 23 senior citizens residing there. Due to overwhelming demand, the Home has now moved to bigger and more modern premises so that our residents can enjoy their twilight years in a more peaceful environment.

The priests at the Nativity Church in Singapore made a request to our Sisters to help out in the educational, social and religious activities in their parish. The Sisters took over the Nativity Church Centre in 1979. Since that time, they have been running a kindergarten and nursery, and attend to catechesis and religious instruction.

The Sisters also pay particular attention to the poor living in the neighbourhood. The Nativity Church Centre has become a reference point for people living in that part of Singapore and is a dynamic place of spiritual and human growth.

To cater for the changing needs of youth, a new approach was required to help them experience community life. The Canossian response for a kind of "family" dimension in religious life was the establishment of Joyville in 1980.

In that year 3 postulants and 2 pre-postulants moved in to form the first community. In addition to seeing to the needs of young ladies who express an interest in joining us, Joyville has also helped in the formation of candidates from other Orders and other countries, like the La Salle Sisters from Thailand. Because the facilities at Joyville proved to be insufficient, the Novitiate was moved to new premises in the grounds of the Nativity Church in 1990.

The majority of people in Sungei Siput in Perak live in poverty, struggling to make ends meet. Recognising a dire need, the Sisters set up a house there in 1984. Besides helping the poorest families there with basic household necessities, the Sisters have been providing tuition in English to students and housewives.

The first house in Sungei Siput proved inadequate and in 1990 the Sisters moved to bigger premises that has a kindergarten and a children's centre.

The enrolment at the Sacred Heart Convent in Malacca grew steadily over the years. In 1976 the Sisters in Malacca set up a small residential community in nearby Ujong Pasir to look into the spiritual needs of the people living in that area.

The residents of Ujong Pasir are mostly Eurasians of Portuguese descent who make their living as fishermen. One of the primary aims of the Sisters was to provide them with a better education so that they could be taken out of their secular isolation and integrated into the nation.

The community of Sisters in Ujong Pasir grew and the Canossian Convent School was set up there in 1982. Eventually the secondary classes in the Sacred Heart Convent were shifted to the Convent at Ujong Pasir.

There were 87 Canossian Sisters in total in Singapore and Malaysia. The number of local Sisters had grown rapidly and our apostolic activities had expanded. In recognition of this, Singapore and Malaysia were accorded the status of Vice Province.

Differing political and socio-cultural stances began to be felt between Singapore and Malaysia. Administrative exigencies called for a restructuring of the Vice Province of St Anthony's, which comprised the two countries.

On 1 January 1994, they were separated into two autonomous provinces. At that time there were 62 Sisters in Singapore and 40 in Malaysia, with 6 communities in each country.

At the request of the parish priest of the Church of St Anthony in Woodlands, Singapore, the Sisters set up another house in one of the government flats in that estate in 1997.

The Sisters have had a certain measure of success in furthering the mission of our Foundress among the residents of the estate and initiating the precepts of Vatican II among the parishioners.

The Canossian movement in Singapore and Malaysia has come a long way since our pioneer Sisters first landed in Singapore in 1894.

As we enter this new Millennium, our Sisters still strive to continue the work that our Foundress started. Animated by the unlimited love of Jesus dying on the Cross, we will continue to live out our Foundress' mission.

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