2nd May 2015 dawned cool and breezy to welcome our Prime Minister of Singapore, Mr. Lee Hsien Loong for the Official Opening of Good Shepherd Place. Many queried, “How come you are honoured to have the Prime Minister for your Opening.”
We go back to 2011 when we were shocked by a notice posted on our Convent gate informing us that Marymount, our home, was being acquired by the Government. It was a rude awakening and when the Prime Minister heard of the way the take-over was thrust upon us he himself took an interest in our plight. In the ensuing months his Permanent Secretary, his Foreign Minister, Mr. K. Shanmugam paid us courtesy calls to alleviate our anguish. Prime Minster Lee invited our Planning Committee to lunch and ironed a number of issues. At that meeting he showed interest to attend our opening. So when we were ready, we invited him as Guest of Honour. He obliged readily.
The Official Opening was a truly family affair. Prime Minister Lee mingled with our friends and families and they snatched the opportunity to take photographs with him. There were smiles all around and shaking of hands emanating a sense of pride and joy to be so near to our Prime Minister.
Sr. Joan Lopez, Province Leader in her welcome speech thanked the many who were responsible for this beautiful Home, which we call Good Shepherd Place.
The children presented PM Lee with an art piece drawn by themselves. Our children from Ahuva Good Shepherd did their pop dance to perfection and were most welcoming when Prime Minister Lee visited their residential section of Good Shepherd Place. They danced and sang, showed him and his entourage their bedrooms and made him feel so at home with them and the dedicated staff
A rendition of the song ‘You Raised Me Up’ was sung by Jacinta, Good Shepherd aspirant, Hilda, a resident from Good Shepherd Centre and Sr.Gerard Fernandez rgs, who is among one of the pioneer sisters in Singapore.
The words of this song is a reflection of our Good Shepherd Mission which is reaching out to the most vulnerable and assisting them to rise up in wholeness and dignity.
Prime Minister Lee then made a tour of Good Shepherd Place. When he visited the 5th floor where the Sisters reside, he graced our dining room. A simple drink of lime juice quenched his thirst and we invited him to pluck a star fruit from our balcony garden. He did so and we sat at table and ate it together. The star fruit was extra sweet that morning! Noticing that BG George Yeo (the former Foreign Minister) was among the guests, PM Lee sent a message to Sr. Cecilia Liew to ask him to join us. A lovely gesture!
Coming to our Marymount Kindergarten he was introduced to our teachers. They were just over the moon and all had a chance to take a selfie with the Prime Minister. He smilingly obliged.
At ‘Dawn’ our Centre for Migrants, Sr. Barbara Lip rgs and the residents shared some of their self- baked cakes with PM Lee. They packed a few tarts for PM Lee to take home to his family. They briefed the Prime Minister on the skills being taught at the Centre. The Centre is run by Sr. Barbara and her team of volunteers.
The final stop was in the Chapel where the Sisters gathered to have a group photo with our Prime Minister. Msgr. Philip Heng representing our Archbishop William Goh joined us.
Prime Minister and his entourage left us around 12.15pm. As we welcomed him with much joy so we sent Prime Minister Lee off with happy and grateful hearts. The Lord blessed the event with a wonderful spirit making all things work unto good.
Submitted by Sr.M.Gerard Fernandez rgs