As we celebrate our 165th Anniversary of the IJ presence and mission in Singapore, we, IJ Sisters and IJ Lay Partners, praise and thank God for His abundant blessings on our IJ community of sisters, fraternity, partners, pupils, alumni, parents and friends of our IJ mission in Singapore.
We are forever indebted to our first teams of IJ Sisters from France and Ireland who had the faith and trust in God, the daring courage and pioneering spirit to leave their homeland to give education to girls in Singapore since 1854, supported by our local IJ sisters. The seeds planted by our pioneer sisters, with considerable courage and loving care, have borne much fruit. The pilgrimage of life continues and we know that God accompanies us along the way.
We also wish to thank the members of our Boards of Management and the leaders of our CHIJ schools and IJ Homes and Children’s Centres for their commitment and unstinting support of our mission which is to create a Christ-centred community with emphasis on our values of trust, justice, freedom and love and on service of others, especially the disadvantaged.
Our main celebration for Founder’s Day 2019 was a Thanksgiving Mass celebrated by Archbishop William Goh and concelebrated by 33 priests at the National Stadium on 28 May with 18,000 people comprising all our pupils and staff from our 11 CHIJ Schools and Home and Centres together with parents, alumni, fraternity members, friends and well-wishers. The main focus of the Archbishop’s homily was on our four values which have been the mainstay of an IJ education.
The pre-Mass segment introduced the history of the IJ Mission in Singapore and the values that have bonded generations of IJ girls through the years.
Conscious of our responsibility as stewards of God’s creation, and in response to Pope Francis’ letter, “Laudato Si”, to care for the earth, our common home, all those present joined in to take the pledge to:
Pray for and with creation,
Live more simply
Advocate to protect our common home.
Our aspirations for our pupils include being Ambassadors of Peace, to choose love instead of hatred, to build bridges where people are divided and being Ambassadors of the Environment, to care for our common home, save the earth and influence others to do likewise.
There was a great spirit of camaraderie and bonding where all the IJ girls and visitors stood up to sing the IJ song, “Hold on to your dream, the IJ dream.”
A commemorative book “Ever Seeking, Ever Serving: The IJ Spirit Lives On”, written by Dr Eulalia Han, our alumna and currently a teacher in CHIJ Secondary, traces 165 years of selfless service of our IJ Sisters in Singapore following the vision of our Founder, Blessed Nicolas Barré.
Part of the celebrations included the CHIJ 165th Anniversary Forum attended by students, staff and members of the IJ Boards on 16 March 2019 at Catholic Junior College. Based on the theme “Ever Seeking, Ever Serving”, participants from the 11 CHIJ Schools were actively engaged with alumnae - keynote speaker, Prof. Lily Kong and panel members - Ms Janet Ang, Ms Lim Choi Ming, Ms Nichol Ng and Ms Rachel Nadia Goh. The forum was coordinated by the theme weaver, Ms Vivienne Lim, Chairperson of the IJ Board of Management. The presenters shared their personal experiences, successes and challenges and highlighted the true meaning of “seeking” and “serving”, which includes responsibility, purpose, sacrifice, diligence, resilience, adaptability, love, compassion, empathy, humility, gratitude and integrity. During the “Question and Answer” segment, the students were so inspired that they waited eagerly in line to ask searching questions, which each presenter patiently and lovingly answered.
In keeping with caring for the environment, the schools hope to plant some trees in their compounds and in the National Parks.
Each CHIJ School and each IJ Home and Children’s Centre has planned programmes and activities
to reinforce the theme of “Ever Seeking, Ever Serving” in this Anniversary year.
We offer our heartfelt thanks to all who have contributed in anyway to this significant milestone in our history.