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Principal's Message

Dear Parents / Guardians
Miss Grace Tan
This year, the school proudly joins our IJ fraternity to celebrate 165 years of IJ presence in Singapore. The first IJ school was established in Victoria Street in 1854. It was relocated to Toa Payoh and is now known as CHIJ Toa Payoh Primary and Secondary. Over the years, the IJ family has grown steadily, with the establishment of 10 other schools which provide the well-known IJ brand of education to young girls across Singapore. Added to our fold is the IJ Homes and Children Centre, which offers critical support services to children, the sick and elderly. As we mark the 165th Anniversary of IJ presence in Singapore, it is only fitting to reflect on the role played by two significant individuals - Blessed Nicholas Barré, founder of the IJ community and Mother Mathilde Raclot, who was instrumental in setting up the first IJ school in Victoria Street. Both embody the theme of our 165th Anniversary ‘Ever Seeking, Ever Serving’.

Blessed Barré was a French priest who, in his work with the local population in Rouen, saw the terrible suffering of the people affected by poverty and famine. He especially recognised the needs of the children, and garnered the support of a few others, to set up schools for them. From this humble beginning, more schools were established, as their efforts ignited the passion of many others to contribute and serve. One such individual who was attracted to the mission of Blessed Barré was Marie Justine Raclot, who later took on the name Mathilde Raclot when she joined the IJ community. Surviving the terrible sea voyage from Europe and armed with a little knowledge of English, she arrived in Penang before heading to Singapore in 1854, together with 3 other sisters. Despite the limited resources, Mother Mathilde and the sisters started classes for children, took care of orphans and became beacons of hope to the increasing numbers of families who sought support and solace. Blessed Barré and Mother Mathilde both reflect the same ardour for God and love for others. Without their readiness to respond to the needs of others, there would not have been an IJ presence in Singapore to speak about. We owe them and many others, who made a difference to all who have benefitted from an IJ education, more than a debt of gratitude. Blessed Barré and Mother Mathilde are outstanding models of compassion and humility, thinking always of others, ready to persevere for the common good, and showing courage and integrity to stand up for what is good despite all odds. 

When we look at the world around us, we see brokenness. The recent attacks in Christchurch, Sri Lanka and the U.S.A. as well as countless other episodes of violence, starkly remind us that the world is in ever greater need of respect and understanding of human dignity. Our Mother Earth is also in need of love and care as we witness never before seen levels of global warming. In these times, more than ever, heroes and heroines like Blessed Barré and Mother Mathilde are very much needed to show us that there is always a way to make that positive difference, if we allow ourselves to think BEYOND self and to shed our cynicism. Let us not doubt the power one has to do good for others, as it always starts with an individual’s effort. 

At the IJ Forum held in March this year, 6 alumnae who hail from various walks of life and are all making a positive difference to others both locally and around the world, shared about their lives. One who is in her late 20s, established the Barré Group which is a non-profit organisation benefitting ethnic minorities in Vietnam. What struck us was how upholding the IJ motto “Simple in Virtue, Steadfast in Duty” guided them in everything they did. When asked what sparked these ideals in them, all cited their beliefs and values which they imbibed from school and family. Their life experiences and how they made sense of the world around them and their interactions they had, influenced their outlook in becoming a servant leader. Being a servant leader meant sharing what they had with others and respecting differences around them, working for the common good, even if it meant personal sacrifice. Their lives reflect a deep love for others and hearts ready to serve. And these are what we continue to focus on in the learning experiences we provide in OLGC. We look to all parents of our OLGC girls to work in partnership with us to nourish these seeds of love for others and readiness to serve others. In this way, we hope that our girls would bloom into ‘Ladies of Character, Leaders for Tomorrow’, thus ensuring that the legacy of Blessed Barré and Mother Mathilde will carry on.

I leave you with a poem, which though tongue-in-cheek, is a timely reminder that if we continue to live by and advocate the belief that the world should only revolve around our individual self, what a lonely and sad existence we will have. Let us forge ahead courageously to be Simple in Virtue, Steadfast in Duty, especially in the face of messages from the world that scream of nothing else but self-centredness and self-absorption. 

The Tea Party

I had a little tea party
This afternoon at three
Twas very small 
Three guests in all – 
Just I, myself and me.

Myself ate up the sandwiches,
While I drank up the tea.
Twas also I who ate the pie, 
And passed the cake to me. 

- Jessica Nelson North
Thank you and God bless.

Ms Grace Tan