Happy and blessed 75th Diamond Jubilee – Cutting of the Anniversary cake

By Ivy Chai

Jan 29 2024

1948 – 19 December – 2023

KUCHING — The Carmelite Monastery of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Kuching commemorated its 75th Diamond Jubilee with a Thanksgiving Mass in the Chapel on Dec 17, 2023. The Carmel Monastery was inaugurated 75 years ago, on Dec 19, 1948.

Kuching Archbishop Simon Poh extended a warm welcome to the Apostolic Nuncio to Malaysia Archbishop Wojciech Załuski, Archbishops Emeriti Peter Chung and John Ha, Carmelite friars Fr Anselm Phang OCD and Fr Nicholas Hoh OCD, and all the parishioners who had come to celebrate this happy and joyous occasion with the Carmelite sisters.

From Jesselton to Kuching

On Dec 5, 1948, eight Carmelite nuns embarked on a journey from Jesselton (now Kota Kinabalu) to Kuching on a steamer, arriving on Dec 10. The Prefect Apostolic of Sarawak, Msgr Hopfgartner MHM had requested for a new Carmel in his Mission. 

The Carmelite sisters stayed in a wooden monastery with basic facilities built on the land where the existing monastery is. On 19 December 1948, the Carmel Monastery held its solemn opening.

Give thanks to God in our hearts

Archbishop Wojciech Załuski presided over the Thanksgiving Mass, concelebrated by the three Kuching Archbishops and the visiting Carmelite friars. 

Sr Mary Bernadette of the Immaculate Conception whose Ruby Jubilee was on Dec 14, also renewed her vows before Mother Prioress, Sr Margaret of St Joseph.

Archbishop Simon Poh thanked the Carmelite sisters for their fervent prayers for us. He asked the Lord to “bless the monastery” and that we pray with “joy in our hearts” and “give thanks to God in our hearts.” 

He disclosed that it is the Carmelite sisters who have been supplying all the altar bread for the churches in Sarawak, until the Miri monastery was built. 

The prelate congratulated Sr Mary Bernadette on her Ruby Jubilee and asked the congregation to continue to pray for her.

Mother Prioress, in her short thanksgiving speech, requested for continued support for the sisters in prayers, and to pray for more vocations.

The cutting of the Anniversary cake took place in the monastery after the Mass ended. Parishioners were served light refreshments and the Visitors’ Parlour was open for visitations. – Today’s Catholic