Pope Paul VI College (Hong Kong) has just celebrated its Golden Jubilee. This milestone anniversary was a testimony to the missionary service of the PIME Sisters who have left their footprints on the school’s half-century journey.
The school was much graced by the presence of the PIME Sisters in the past 50 years. One looks back with great appreciation and deep gratitude to the Sisters whose devotion and untiring effort have made possible the realization of the vision and mission of the school.
I am very blessed to have been a member of Pope Paul VI College for 45 years. It is the place where I learned and grew as a student, it is also the vineyard in which I received the seeds of faith and later learned to be a sower of God’s Word as a teacher and Principal. In different capacities, I was warmly supported, encouraged and accompanied by the Sisters. I thank the Lord with all my heart for sending the Sisters to Hong Kong, whose mission in the school has touched many hearts and lives.
Our history: a school fitted for its time
Fifty years ago, the Sisters founded a girls’ school here in Hong Kong. What is especially meaningful is that they founded a “Catholic” school for the “underprivileged”, in terms of gender and social status, in a peripheral area far away from the city centre. Their mission of providing education for the girls here was a generous response to the call of God and timely response to the needs of the Hong Kong community then. The Catholic education they provided has uplifted and changed the lives of many, as we students were given the chance to develop our God-gifted talents and prepared ourselves better for a fulfilling life. It is indeed very encouraging to see that our alumnae have made contributions to society in various capacities and different walks of life over the past few decades.
A catholic school
Our school is a “Catholic” school and that has made all the differences for the students entrusted to its care. Here students are guided not only in their quest for knowledge but more importantly, they are nurtured with the Gospel values witnessed by the Sisters. This value-oriented education is indispensable for the character and value formation of students, especially in a society marred by undue emphasis on keen competitions, pragmatic concerns and material rewards.
I appreciate much that since its birth in 1969, the school has attached great importance to moral and value education. For instance, despite the very tight school timetable, two periods of Religious and Moral Education in every cycle are allocated to all forms. Together with other learning activities and formation programmes, and with the example of the Sisters, the core values of Catholic education have been passed on to the students and the spirit of love and service immersed in the school campus.
Evangelization at school
Being missionaries, the Sisters have played the role of sowers in the school vineyard. Their visible acts of affection, as manifested in the ways they interacted with students and staff, have perhaps been the best means of evangelization in the school. Their living witness have sown seeds of faith in the hearts of many school members. There were students, teachers and staff members who were baptised in response to the call of God through the mission of the Sisters. Even though many are still not Catholics, I am sure that the teaching and examples of the Sisters have positively impacted their lives in one way or another.
The presence of the PIME Sisters in the school in the past 50 years has truly been a great blessing for our alma mater and is always deeply appreciated, as reflected by the testimony of many past students and ex-teachers. Here below I quote the words of some who have expressed their deep gratitude to the Sisters on the occasion of the school’s Golden Jubilee.
“When Sr. Magdalene Pirodda and Sr. Theresa Pathickal started their mission here, they did not know the language and were unfamiliar with the Chinese culture. Yet, they courageously withstood all hardships and strove to contribute their best to the school. We are deeply grateful to what they have done for us… (a past student)
“Without the support and encouragement of the Sisters, I would not have been able to receive secondary education and then university education. I would probably have started working in a factory after finishing Primary Six…. Their mission in the school has graciously changed the lives of many young girls entrusted to their care…” (past student)
“The Sisters are very courageous, committed and have great faith in God. Though I am not a Catholic, I was much impressed by what they have done for the school, and I thank them in particular for the moral values fostered in us. To me, ‘Love and Service’ is more than a school motto, it is my life-long maxim.” (past student)
“Having been a student and then a teacher at Pope Paul VI College, I could truly feel the care, affection and support of the Sisters. No words could express my deep gratitude to them.” (past student & ex-teacher)
“I joined the school as a teacher in 1973. The Principal, Sr. Theresa, was fully committed to her mission in the school. She cared not only for the students but for the teachers and other staff as well. She is indeed a very respectable Sister… I will always cherish the strong team spirit and a warmly family-like atmosphere in the school.” (ex-teacher)
“Whenever I think of Pope Paul VI College, I think of Sr. Theresa and the other pioneer Sisters because of their selfless contribution to the school.” (ex-teacher)
“I am confident that our students will inherit and transmit the positive values they have assimilated at Pope Paul VI College.” (ex-teacher)
The footprints of the PIME Sisters on the 50-year journey of Pope Paul VI College will always be cherished and remembered dearly. May God bless the Sisters abundantly and accompany them to spread His fragrance of love in this big school family and elsewhere!
Connie Lam – Lay Associate – Hong Kong