The presence of Brothers of Mercy was established in Malaya in the 1950s and 1960s. Archbishop Michael Olcomendy of Malacca and Singapore had expressed an interest and desire for a modern travelling hospital. This would greatly help the poor migrant population stretched across remote areas. The Brothers arrived and started mobile clinics in the early post-war period, visiting the sick in villages around what is now West Malaysia and Singapore.
Their official presence in Singapore however, was only in October 1995. Their mission: “To have closer union with Jesus and increasing love for God, leading men to Christ and implanting the love of Mary in the hearts of men through caring for the sick and elderly out of Christian love.” Working as nurses in the Singapore’s first Catholic hospital, Mount Alvernia Hospital, the three Brothers of Mercy also served as spiritual directors to the Legion of Mary and St Vincent de Paul Society in the parish of St Francis Xavier.
Six years after their arrival, the Brothers were asked to help Catholic Welfare Services (CWS) in their running of Villa Francis Home for the Aged, which CWS had just taken over from the Franciscan Missionaries of the Divine Motherhood (FMDM) Sisters. The Home benefitted greatly from their experience in nursing, administration and pastoral care.
In 2003, CWS took over another home, St Theresa’s Home, which was previously run by the Little Sisters of the Poor. The Brothers were invited once again to lend their expertise to the new team. By this time, there were only two brothers. Brother Thomas Chia remained in Villa Francis, and Brother Ambrose Heng assisted at St Theresa’s Home.
The Brothers of Mercy continue to remain a modest and invaluable support in the Archdiocese today.
Brothers of Mercy (FMMA) 1995. (n.d.) In Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Singapore. Retrieved from http://www.catholic.sg/catholic_directory_group_detail.php?GroupID=99&TypeDesc=Religious&pageTitle=Brothers%20of%20Mercy%20(FMMA)%201995
John, A., Skadian C., Alfred H., Reuters L., Tan T., Ho K., … Yap N. (2004). Come, Follow Me: 40th Sacerdotal Anniversary of His Grace Archbishop Nicholas Chia. Singapore: Archdiocese of Singapore.
Ooi, W. (2006, March). Religious Life – Up Close and Personal: Brothers of Mercy of Mary Help of Christians. Catholic News. Retrieved from http://catholicnews.sg/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=931