The Mission And First Catholic Converts

(1832-1880)

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Trace the footsteps of our founding Fathers as the Church grows from Mission to Church. Peek into the diary of an adventurous French priest in the humid jungles of Bukit Timah, or read about the fearsome Chinese secret societies who persecuted the early Christians and how the Church first nurtured the family unit in an immigrant society.


The First Catholic Chapel in Singapore


Father Jean-Marie Beurel, MEP Arrives in Singapore


Chapel of St Joseph in Kranji is Built


The Church of the Good Shepherd was Blessed and Opened


Persecution of Chinese Christian Converts


Building of a Small Church, São José


Establishing an English-Medium Mission School for Boys


Church of St Joseph is Built at Bukit Timah


The IJ Sisters Open the First English-Medium Catholic School for Girls


Church of Sts Peter and Paul is Built


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The Mission And First Catholic Converts
1880

The Mission And First Catholic Converts

1832 - 1880

1832
9th June 1833

The First Catholic Chapel in Singapore

The first Catholic chapel in Singapore was opened and blessed on 9 June 1833. It was located along Bras Basah Road where the old St Joseph Institution now stands.

27th October 1839

Father Jean-Marie Beurel, MEP Arrives in Singapore

Father Jean-Marie Beurel, MEP arrived in Singapore in 1839. He is acknowledged as one of the first Fathers of the local Church because of his extensive efforts as a missionary in Singapore.

1846

Chapel of St Joseph in Kranji is Built

Fr Anatole Manduit built the Chapel of St Joseph in Kranji. This began the first jungle mission to the Chinese plantation workers in interior Singapore.

6th June 1847

The Church of the Good Shepherd was Blessed and Opened

In order to accommodate the growing number of Catholics, the MEP fathers erected a church building near the existing chapel on Bras Basah Road. The Church of the Good Shepherd was blessed and opened in 1847. It was named for a phrase in a letter written by Fr Laurent Imbert, shortly before he was martyred in Korea.

1849 - 1851

Persecution of Chinese Christian Converts

The increasing persecution of Chinese Christian converts by the Chinese secret societies culminated in an outbreak of social unrest in February 1851.

17th February 1850

Building of a Small Church, São José

In 1850, Fr Maia of the Portuguese Mission passed away and left some money and land for the building of a small church, São José, on the present site of St Joseph’s Church at Victoria Street. That structure was built from 1851 to 1853.

29th March 1852

Establishing an English-Medium Mission School for Boys

Six Brothers of the Christian Schools (Latin: Fratres Scholarum Christianarum) arrived in Singapore in 1852, together with 4 Sisters from the Congregation of the Charitable Sisters of the Holy Infant Jesus of St Maur. Half of the Christian Brothers continued to Penang, Malaya with the Sisters while the other three remained with Father Beurel to establish an English-medium mission school for boys. It later became known as St Joseph’s Institute (SJI).

1852-1853

Two churches for the farmers

Father Manduit built the Church of St Joseph at Bukit Timah after the original chapel at Kranji was burnt down in a case of suspected arson.

At the same time, on the other side of the island, Fr. Ambrose Maistre built an attap chapel in Aukang. It was later replaced by a brick chapel named St. Mary’s Chapel. The present-day building of the Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary was built in 1901.

5th February 1854

The IJ Sisters Open the First English-Medium Catholic School for Girls

The IJ Sisters opened the first English-medium Catholic school for girls in 1854. Due to its location, it was known as the Town Convent. With two English-medium schools, the Church could now serve the diverse communities of Singapore—religious orders managed the English mission schools while the MEP supervised the ethnicity-based parish-school-orphanage system.

1858-1870

Church of Sts Peter and Paul is Built

In 1858, Father Pierre Paris took charge of the Chinese and Indian communities in town and in Serangoon. He oversaw the building of the Church of Sts Peter and Paul which was built to accommodate the growing number of Chinese Catholics in Singapore and a smaller group of Tamil Catholics.

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1880

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From Mission To Church 1880- 1945