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Quiet Missionaries: Catholic Nuns as Change-Agents in Colonial Singapore

conference contribution
posted on 2023-05-23, 19:07 authored by Sandra Hudd
This paper examines the roles and contribution of Catholic religious Sisters in colonial Singapore. It does this by examining the Convent of the Holy Infant Jesus, established in 1854 in Victoria Street, Singapore by a French Catholic teaching order, the Charitable Mistresses of the Holy Infant Jesus, known then as the Ladies of St. Maur, and today as the Infant Jesus Sisters. The Convent was not a place of silent contemplation – it teemed with people. The Sisters established schools for girls, an orphanage for abandoned children, and a women’s refuge. In a sense, the Sisters operated as an early non-government organisation, providing services, raising funds, and responding to government requirements and goals. From within the convent walls, the Sisters actively contributed to what in today’s context we would define as the development goals of universal education for girls, reduction in child mortality, improvement of health outcomes and the empowerment of women.



School of Humanities


Asia Research Institute

Place of publication


Event title

The Mission of Development: Religion and Techno-politics in Asia

Event Venue

National University of Singapore

Date of Event (Start Date)


Date of Event (End Date)


Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Religion and society

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