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SETAPAK, KL – March 21 was a joyous day for the Good Shepherd Sisters, lay mission partners, and benefactors in the province of Malaysia-Singapore as we rejoiced with Sr Teresa Chye on the occasion of the Golden Jubilee of Religious Profession. It was a celebration of 50 years of faithful service to God and humanity with tremendous love, compassion and zeal.
The celebrations at Madonna Heights Good Shepherd Convent began with a thanksgiving Mass celebrated by Fr V.A. Michael, joined by Good Shepherd Sisters, family members, lay mission partners, friends and benefactors. The theme chosen by Sr Teresa for the joyous celebration was “Great is thy faithfulness, O God of compassion; Morning by morning, New blessings I see”.
Sr Teresa hails from Penang, second in a brood of 5 siblings. She joined the Good Shepherd Congregation in 1962 and had her first profession in Singapore on 19 March 1965. She took the name of Sr Emmanuel (“Emmanuel” means “God with us”) and strives to be true to her name to this day. She has served in the Province Leadership, in residential care for children and women and in supervising Good Shepherd schools and kindergartens. She was also formator and novice directress for 6 years.
In his homily, Fr Michael shared that he first met Sr Teresa in 1970 when he was a student at St John’s Institution in KL. His first impression of Sr Teresa, who was quiet, serene, simple, loving and tender-hearted, was reflective of Jesus the Good Shepherd. In the one year that Sr Teresa taught him, Fr Michael could see her total dedication to her ministry, which is also seen by many for the last 50 years of her total dedication to the various Good Shepherd ministries that Sr Teresa was personally involved in, both in Malaysia and Singapore.
Subsequently, he caught up with her again in 1982 when he went to the seminary in Penang where she was in-charge of 4 novices there. He saw her “motherly” role in looking after the young novices with dedication and care. The novices who were then his classmates at the seminary often spoke of Sr Teresa with great fondness and they shared with him that they yearned to be Good Shepherd sisters because of Sr Teresa’s example as a “Shepherd” to them. She was one with them as ‘community’ and not one of ‘authority’, exemplifying the mercy, goodness and love of God in her own life.
Fr Michael recalled over the years that he has come across Sr Teresa, she was never without a smile, portraying a vocational life lived with exuberant joy and happiness founded on a love relationship with God.
Fr Michael thanked God for 50 years of faithfulness and love shown to Sr Teresa. During the thanksgiving Mass, Sr Teresa renewed her religious vows of chastity, poverty, obedience and zeal, before God and all present.
The celebration concluded with a ceremonious cake cutting, followed by a sumptuous lunch, with lots of fellowship and laughter.
Angela, one of Sr Teresa’s nieces, shared that she was very touched by the celebration, which was a very special and joyous occasion for everyone in her family. She greatly admired her aunt for her dedication, faithfulness and love to God and the people around her. Annually she and her family members would look forward to Sr Teresa’s visits during Chinese New Year.
Friends, benefactors and mission partners also had much to praise about Sr Teresa, especially of her dedication and love to God and for the Good Shepherd Mission. As John Chin said to the jubilarian, “Through all these years of prayers, selflessness and sacrifices, you have indeed reaped an abundance of harvest for the Lord. The countless lives you have touched and cared for in the various ministries plus the many projects you have initiated and successfully brought to fruition are living testimonies of your enduring works and labours of love.” He further shared of Sr Teresa: “The soft-spoken, unassuming Sister and a strong advocate of “Charity begins at home” has a smile for everyone she meets. Her ‘Mona Lisa’ smile always radiates joy and calmness and her witty humour is a great asset in reaching out and getting others to share in her mission. My family and I are indeed blessed to have met and known Sr Teresa Chye.” – Cecilia Lim, Principal of Marymount Convent School in Singapore, who was present for the occasion