Back to the past

History lessons remembered. Yes, Sir Stamford Raffles came to Singapore in 1819, and I recall vaguely the East India Company and all the rest . . . .  In 1821, two years later, the first French missionary came to Singapore. He was Fr. L. Imbert who later became Bishop. Much later, he was killed. He died for  the Catholic faith. May his soul rest in peace, through the mercy of God, and may the souls of all the faithful departed rest in peace too. Amen. I am just so nostalgic when I think of my school days in a convent school. Those were the days. Going for a short prayer before going to school. Attending First Friday masses. I was a pagan then and somehow there were moments when I felt left out. Why do I say that? It was more a matter of not having Christian names, as Chinese names were always tough for Irish nuns and others to pronounce. In the end, one Indian nun Sr. Patricia gave me my present name, and of course, when I got baptised, I continued to use it.  The name was given to me when I was only a teenager! It is interesting to note that parishes have  been built all over Singapore, and today we have 32, with one still under construction. For such a tiny island, it seems too good a thing for us to have so many parishes. I think one has no excuse to miss mass even on weekdays as they are available in the mornings, afternoons and evenings, and even at night. But when the parishes were first set up, it was for different groups speaking different languages. I was happy to learn that my language group went to the Church of St. Peter and St Paul. Later on, to stop the people from continuing to stick to their own languages, parishes then catered to different districts, or locations. Today this continues although people are so mobile that they can find the right church and the right time to worship our Lord. And one more reason was to give the priests time to attend to the non Christians. Praise the Lord! It is so good to know that the grace to evangelise is never far from us. We must continue to share the Good News. Praise the Lord! As a convent girl, I thank God for the use of English as my first language, and Chinese as my second. Later on in life I tried to learn other languages, but I have to admit that I am not good at both French and Japanese. I did not make it to sit for the tests or exams. I am content with using English and . . .. ah, I have harboured a dream  to use Mandarin. Praise the Lord! Last evening, I had the chance to introduce a Chinese lady to the RCIA conducted in Mandarin. How blessed I am to be able to remember the language enough to share my conversion story. I desire to improve so I can bring the Good News to the many who speak and write only such a language. We have so many Chinese people from mainland China and so, it is worth putting in some  effort for them. Praise the Lord! Yes, it is common knowledge that the convent girl is given a good education so she can be the best version of herself, and then she must give back to society. Praise God!

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