“Catholic education is more than helping our students to get good grades or to compete for entry to the best schools.  Our young people are looking for something more, something that is all encompassing. They seek for those things that can truly give them meaning and purpose in living a fulfilling life. Catholic education seeks to give them a holistic education for life and love; not just for a career, not just for tomorrow, not even for this life on earth only but for eternal life.  The best education we can give, therefore, is an education for life and love.  This is the greatest gift we can give to our children.  It is the best investment for life here on earth and for eternity. Such a kind of education will determine their well-being and happiness.”

– Archbishop William Goh

Fr. Jean-Marie Beurel, MEP arrived in Singapore in 1839. Fr. Beurel was instrumental in setting up the Catholic Church and Catholic Schools in Singapore.

On the 29th of March 1852, 6 Brothers of the Christian Schools, together with 4 Sisters from the Congregation of the Charitable Sisters of the Holy Infant Jesus of St Maur alighted on the shores of Singapore. 3 Brothers with the Sisters, went on to Penang, while the other 3 Brothers remained in Singapore. An English-medium mission school was set up for boys. This eventually became St. Joseph’s Institution (SJI).

The first English-medium Catholic school for girls was established by the IJ Sisters on the 5th of February 1854. Due to its location, it became known as the Town Convent. The religious ran the school, while the MEP ran the adjacent orphanage.

The Canossian Daughters of Charity arrived on 11th December 1894. They took over the running of St. Anthony Girls School in 1895.

On 20th November 1936, the Brothers of St. Gabriel arrived in Singapore. They were given jurisdication of Holy Innocent English School, which later became Montfort School in 1937.

In 1939, the Good Shepherd Sisters arrived in Singapore.

In 1942, Singapore became occupied by the Japanese military forces. The religious who were stationed here, were seconded to labour camps, to Bahau, and to work along the Death Railway.


In the years 1945 to 1947, the Good Shepherd Sisters set up Good Shepherd Convent. This was set up to educate girls who were affected by the war. This was to be known as Marymount convent School.

In 1950, the Marist Brothers arrived in Singapore. They were to run Catholic High School.In 1959, the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary founded a Chinese school for girls – Hai Sing Girls High School. This eventually became co-ed and was renamed Hai Sing Catholic school in 1999.In 1948, the Brothers of St. Gabriel set up Boys’ Town to cater to the needs of the underprivileged. Shortly after, St. John’s Trade School was set up. This would eventually become Assumption Pathway. To cater to the academic needs of the orphans in Boys’ Town, St. John’s English School was set up. This would eventually become Assumption English School.

In 1975, Catholic Junior College is set up to provide pre-university education by the Catholic religious orders.


Compiled by Brian Bartholomew Tan

Source: Catholic.sg