The first Franciscan Missionaries of Mary (FMM) Sisters arrived in Singapore from Rome, on a ship called the Tabian, in 1953. They were headed by Mother M. Chrysanthe, who was to be the Regional Superior of the new province of “The Immaculate Heart” made up of Indonesia, Australia and Singapore-Malaya. While they looked for a suitable new home, the Infant Jesus Sisters housed them at the Town Convent on Victoria Street. By September 1953, the FMM Sisters were able to purchase a house on Holland Road. They named their new convent Maris Stella.
Their early beginnings were difficult as the sisters began with practically nothing. They even had to use the bed for a table and packing cases for stools! With the help of many, and as more Sisters arrived, the FMM Sisters began to branch into various ministries including kindergartens, schools for girls, mobile clinics in poorer parts of Singapore, sewing vestments, private tuition in English and French, music lessons, social services, and of course, catechesis.
In 1954, the Sisters opened Maris Stella Kindergarten together with the Marist Brothers in response to a need for preschool education. The kindergarten has been providing preschool special needs education for children for over 15 years. Another school that is still standing is Hai Sing Catholic School. Founded in 1959 for girls from farming families in the Upper Serangoon- Punggol area, “Hai Sing” means “Star of the Sea” in Mandarin, and “Maris Stella” in Latin. The school relocated to Pasir Ris New Town in 1990 and now caters to both boys and girls.
Apart from education, the FMM Sisters have been involved in community services like counselling young people and helping migrant workers and abused women. They are also found in parishes and the healthcare sector, visit the sick and elderly and run retreats at their House of Prayer. At the end of 2003, the FMM Sisters had three novices.
About us. (n.d.) In Franciscan Missionaries of Mary (FMM Singapore). Retrieved from http://www.fmmsingapore.org/
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.
THE HISTORY OF FMMs in Malaysia and Singapore. In Franciscan Missionaries of Mary: Malaysia- Singapore Province. Retrieved from http://fmm-mysg.weebly.com/history.html.
Read more about the mission and good works of the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary on their website at http://www.fmmsingapore.org/.