Canossian Sister Theresa Seow has been involved in promoting interfaith harmony since the 1990s
Canossian Sister Theresa Seow (center) pose for a photo after receiving the Exemplary Interfaith Award from Jamiyah Singapore on July 29. (Photo: Clement Lee/Catholic News)
A non-profit organization working for welfare and development of Muslims in Singapore has honored a Catholic nun for her efforts to promote understanding and cooperation between religions in the city-state.
Sister Theresa Seow, a member of the Canossian Daughters of Charity was one of two recipients of the Exemplary Interfaith Award from Jamiyah Singapore, Catholic News reported on Aug. 9.
“Interreligious dialogue is not an optional extra: it is part of the evangelizing mission of the Church,” Sister Seow said during the award ceremony on July 29.
Get the latest from UCA News. Sign-up to receive our daily newsletter
The other recipient was Tan Thiam Lye, a leader of the Taoist Federation of Singapore hailed for promoting interfaith and racial harmony.
Former senior government minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam presented the awards.
Interfaith harmony is not just an intellectual idea or attitude of mind, but an active and concerted practice in Singapore, the Straits Times daily reported Shanmugaratnam as saying.
This is not just among religious leaders, but also in day-to-day matters of religious institutions, he added.
He said that mosques and churches in Singapore coordinate practical day-to-day matters such as traffic and the sharing of parking spaces, sometimes even inviting congregants to their respective festivities.
“Interfaith harmony is a distinctive part of our identity,” he said.
The nun, a member of the Singapore Archdiocesan Catholic Council for Interreligious Dialogue, has been involved in interreligious dialogue since the 1990s.
Singapore’s late archbishop, Gregory Yong, appointed her as the archdiocesan representative to the Inter-Religious Organization, Singapore (IRO), an interfaith forum, in 1995. She became the IRO’s first woman president in 2003.
The Vatican also honored her interfaith efforts.
Pope John Paul II appointed her as a consultor of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue from 2001 to 2004.
Sister Theresa Seow has been a Canossian nun for nearly 40 years. She is now the executive director of Canossaville, a children and community services facility run by her congregation.
“An effective way of making Jesus known and loved is to be with our sisters and brothers of other faiths so that they will know we are Christians by our love, our acceptance and our words,” she said after receiving the award.
“May all of us work quietly for interreligious peace and harmony in our everyday lives, guided by God’s Spirit of peace, because human efforts alone will not make peace happen,” she added.
Singapore is a multi-religious and multi-cultural nation with an estimated population of 5.64 million.
Buddhists account for 31.1 percent, Christians are 18.9 percent, Muslims 15.6 percent and Hindus make up five percent, according to official data from 2021.
Followers of traditional Chinese faiths such as Taoism account for 8.8 percent.
There are about 360,000 Catholics in 32 parishes in Singapore.
The Church in Asia needs objective and independent journalism to speak the truth about the Church and the state. With a network of professionally qualified journalists and editors across Asia, UCA News is all about this mission.
Share your comments
It is believed that Saint Thomas, one of the Apostles, came to India in 52 A.D. Out of the seven and a half churches
In a land area of 9,262 square kilometers, the diocesan territory covers two entire civil provinces of Long An and Tien
Purwokerto diocese covers an area of 13,870 square kilometers and includes 12 districts and two municipalities of
St. Joseph’s Cathedral in Vietnam’s capital Hanoi is a French colonial-era landmark and one of...
The Church of the Visitation in Seremban relishes the treasured legacy of pioneering French...
Mokama Marian shrine on the southern bank of Ganges River bears the legacy persecuted Nepali...