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A remarkable story

The Church, too, must be a family, bishops, priests, deacons, religious and laity, supporting each other and sharing with each other the individual gifts given by God.
Pope John Paul II,
Heaton Park, Manchester, 31st May 1982

The Diocese

A remarkable story

Reunited – for a time

We three European Sisters were marched to the boat but were not told where we were going. The two Mill Hill Missionaries and we three Sisters travelled huddled togethe ron the deck. The only time I was really scared was when the engine stopped and  everyone was quiet. “They are going to throw us overboard,” I said to myself. I cannot describe the mixed emotions that came over me then. There we were in the middle of the ocean – South China Sea – not drifting, so very still. Then the engines started up again. One of the crew told me that they had to stop until they heard where the Emperor wanted them to take us. That was a relief.

We were eventually reunited with our sisters in the Kuching Convent – house arrest. Now we will settle down until the war is over – so we thought. One Monday morning,washing day, having just pegged our clothes on the line to dry, two Japanese officers arrived. They told us to pack up our small bundles and be prepared to be interned. Lorries came to take us to the Prisoner of War Camp at Batu Lintang a few miles from the Convent. We made sure we did not leave our wet clothing behind. In no time, we were in the camp with hundreds of men and women and children, civilians, priests, religious and the Poor Clare nuns (Slot Sisters) from Kalimantan the Dutch part of Borneo.

Our Mother Alban led her twenty Sisters from North Borneo and Mother Bernardine led our Sisters from Sarawak. Over forty FMSJs were placed in one barrack, wives and children where in another barrack – at first the civilian men prisoners with their families – but were eventually separated.