On the first weekend of July, Queensland got its newest and youngest Canossian Sister, Monique Singh, who’s serving society in education at Parklands Christian College.

Her final vows on Sunday, July 4, happened one day later than expected with Brisbane’s snap lockdown causing the delay.

“It caused a bit of drama, we had to push it back one day because of the lockdown, but we got there,” she says.

The weather seemed to mimic the flow of the weekend, she says, with dreary wet conditions on the Saturday before sublime sunshine arrived in time for her final vows.

“It made me wonder whether it was meant to be that way,” she says. “It was a very special moment and a joyful celebration. 

“It was the way of making public what I knew in my heart for a long time that I’ve been called into this particular way of life.”

Sister Monique takes her final vows

Monique, now in her 30s, is one of the youngest members of the Canossian Sisters, of which there are about 30 Australia-wide.

She initially planned on becoming a dancer after school but changed her mind over several years. 

“I gradually came to understand over a few years when I was doing university that this pathway was for me,” she says. “When I was ready to let go of my past dream, I felt very free to go down this path,” she says.

She taught ballet and renewed her first vows until she was ready for the next step.

“Our initial formation is you still work outside and stay in with the sisters until you’re sure you want to take that next step.”

She then went into the novitiate, the period of training one undergoes before deciding if a vowed religious life is for them.

Monique’s novitiate was held in the Phillipines from 2012 to 2014.

Christmas caroling at the Orthopedic Hospital, Quezon City, Metro Manila, 2013

There, she did community outreach and learned the institute’s way of life with other prospective Canossian Sisters.

“I used to go out to the orthopaedic patients once a week, visit them and do some stuff with the children in the slum area near us,” she says. “It was mostly in-house learning and a few things mixed with the other congregations as well.”

Canossian Sisters choose one of five ministries to serve in: education, evangelisation or social care, pastoral care of the sick, or spiritual direction.

Monqiue sees herself sticking with education but may explore others in the future.

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