“Charity is like a blazing fire! Accendi la vita!” – St Magdalene of Canossa
This year, on 2nd March, the Canossian Sisters commemorate the 250th Anniversary of the birth of St Magdalene of Canossa (1 Mar 1774 – 2024). It is a celebration of Thanksgiving with a Mass to praise and thank God for the gift of St Magdalene who founded the Canossian Daughters of Charity in 1808. Since the establishment of the first “charity school” by the Foundress in Verona, the Canossian mission has grown worldwide and is now in 33 countries. They are carrying out three main ministries in the fields of education, catechesis, and pastoral care for the sick. The Sisters are also serving in retreat ministries and running mission stations in poor villages in countries such as Myanmar, for those with disadvantaged backgrounds. The Sisters in Myanmar continue to train young women to be country teachers to care for the children, the downtrodden, and the lowly.
The year 2024 is a very special year for the Canossian Sisters worldwide and particularly for the Province of Singapore, as we also commemorate the 130th Anniversary of the arrival of the four Sisters from Macao in 1894. This arrival marked the inception of the Canossian Daughters of Charity in Singapore, as they took over St Anna’s School (established in 1879) and later established St Anthony’s Convent School in Middle Road. Today, the two schools are located in Bedok North.
In 1999, the Canossian School for Hearing Loss, housed in Jalan Merbok, moved back to Sallim Road. During this transformative period, the school forged a satellite partnership with Canossa Catholic Primary that lasted for 25 years. As both schools celebrate 25 years of partnership and close collaboration aimed at enriching the educational experience for children with hearing loss within a mainstream environment, the schools are now progressing naturally to the next phase and will become one. In 2025, Canossa Catholic Primary School, as a mainstream school, will also be designated for children with hearing loss. It is a first in Singapore’s educational system whereby a special school comes together with a mainstream school.
Aligning with the Foundress’ vision of the need to change with the signs of time, the schools will receive support from Canossaville Children and Community Services, a key partner in ensuring that the well-being of both the children and their families is supported. In conjunction with our lay partners, our commitment extends beyond addressing psychosocial, emotional, and financial needs to recognising the importance of the Formation of the Heart.
Upholding the dignity of each individual with profound respect, we acknowledge the presence of “seeds of faith” in every culture, religion, and race. As such, our outreach extends to every person of every creed, as we strive to nurture and enhance the ones in need.
Like St Magdalene when she opened her heart to the Holy Spirit, who guided her to the poor in Verona and in other cities, Canossaville, along with the different Canossian entities, has also written a significant page in history. As we begin a new year with new opportunities and a new chapter, we begin a page that speaks of our collective journey in the Spirit.
We could not have achieved this without the support and guidance of our Management Committee. The encouragement, interest, and trust of our sponsors, donors, and well-wishers like you also ensure our sustainability and success as a Village as we continue to strengthen this Canossian Circle of Care.
I take this opportunity to wish you a Happy Lunar New Year! God grant abundant blessings for you, your loved ones, and your enterprise.