The Good Shepherd Sisters
The Good Shepherd Sisters opened their doors to women and girls who were troubled or abused and in need of healing and reconciliation.
However, the Second World War disrupted their plans and ruing the Japanese occupation, the sisters went to Bahau, Malaysia. They returned after the war and stayed in MacPherson Road and Kampong Java Road, eventually moving to Marymount at Thomson Road in the 1950s.
At Marymount, the Good Shepherd Sisters set up a home for orphans who were mainly post-war chilrdren.
As there was a need for education, Marymount Convent School was established. There were a number of local vocations, and the sisters gradually expanded their ministries.
Over the years, as more and more women joined the workforce, many Marymount Convent pupils became
latchkey children as both parents worked. The sisters responded by providing Marian Centre, a before and after-school care. By the 1980s, it was serving over 60 children. Today, Marian Centre is still a students care service.
The sisters prayed daily in Marymount Chapel in the early 1960s. The girls, some teachers, and even parents from MCS now join the sisters in this chapel for Morning Mass celebrated by Fr. Michael Teo on Tuesdays during the school term.
Apart from Marymount Convent School, the sisters run two kindergartens – Marymount at Thomson Road and the Good Shepherd Kindergarten at Nallur Road. They also run the AHUVA Good Shepherd’s Children’s Home at Marymount Centre which includes the care of children – from 7.30pm to 11.00pm – who otherwise would be alone at night because their parents are out working; many of these children come from single parent homes.
The Good Shepherd Centre at Yishun is a Shelter for women and children who are victims of domestic violence and for migrant workers suffering employer abuse. Rose Villa, also at the centre, takes care of unwed women in pregnancy crisis. The refuge offers temporary protection, counselling, and empowerment to its residents. The sisters conduct outreach programmes for women at their Nallur Road premises, where counselling sessions are available for women with problems. Stay-in programmes are sometimes held at Restful Waters, Nallur Road.
With their small number, the sisters now work with many lay collaborators in their different ministries and rely on networking in their apostolate. At Rose Villa, for example, they concentrate on the residential ministry, leaving areas like adoption to other organisations to take care of. This is unlike the past when the sisters would attend to the different aspects of caring for unwed mothers including adoption options for the baby.
In Malaysia, established in 1956, the sisters minister to a wide range of people in need. This includes outreach to the poor in the rural areas. They also serve the Orang Asli, the aborigines of Malaysia. From the unit, missionaries have been sent abroad. There is Sr. Margaret Lee in Kenya, Africal Srs. Clare Lee and Juliana Lee in Taiwan, Sr. Michelle Lopez in Cambodia and Sr. Madeleine Lee in Australia.
All the sisters have served in different capacities in Marymount Convent School at one time or another in the past. One sister who served in MCS for many years ensuring spiritual formation is Sr. Gabriel Byrne who returned to her homeland in Ireland in the early 90s. Many have gone to their eternal reward, having been ‘good and faithful servants’. Two Good Shepherd Sisters
of the unit responded to a call to a contemplative life of prayer and penance. Sr. Clara Paul joined the Carmelite Sisters in Mantin, Malaysia in the 1980s while Sr. Lilly Simon Sorop joined the Contemplative community of the Good Shepherd Sisters in the Philippines just three years ago.
The Good Shepherd sisters continue to respond to the needs of society, always with the mission of reconciliation – in particular, they minister to women and children to bring them to a healthier relationship with themselves, their families and society.
The sisters would like to record their gratitude to each and everyone who supports, contributes and collaborates with them in their ministries and helps to keep alive the charism of the Good Shepherd. May all experience mercy and love in the compassion of Jesus, the Good Shepherd.