Our History

The Annals of the Church of St Teresa in Singapore

Under the care of the Missions Etrangeres de Paris (MEP), Fr E.J. Mariette bought a land of 2.1 acres on which the Church was built for the Hokkien Catholic community of Singapore. Situated on a hill the Malays called “Bukit Purmei” (Beautiful Hill).

Rev Fr. Stephen Lee has put his whole heart into the fund raising. All the financial powers of the parish: traders, labourers, mothers, young men, school children, were all competing in good will and generosity.

The voluntary contributions came from rich, meek and young, even the rickshaw-pullers of Maur Road were among the list of great benefactors of St Teresa’s. The funds swelled to almost S$80,000. 

Rt Rev Mgr Emile Joseph Marriette, Vicar General of the Diocese of Malacca and the Vicar of the Church of Sts Peter and Paul, Queen Street, Singapore died during the construction. He had gone to inspect the work of construction of St Teresa’s Church, Kampong Bahru on Tuesday evening. While in front of the building, a workman dropped a plank carelessly from the steeple, a height of about a hundred feet, which fell on his head and injured him fatally on 13 March 1928. He spent 42 years in the Mission, and only once revisited France where he spent 10 months.

Rev Fr Stephen Lee succeeded Mgr Mariette and it was through his dynamic personality that the completion of the church building made possible.
Fr Stephen with Governor Sir Hugh Clifford during the opening of St Teresa's Church

Fr Stephen with Governor Sir Hugh Clifford during the opening of St Teresa's Church

18 April 1927

Foundation stone

Foundation stone was laid.

18 April 1927

23 January 1928

Chinese New Year Day

Blessing of the four Bells ceremony took place at Sts Peter & Paul Church at Queen Street witnessed by the Governor of Straits Settlement, Sir Hugh Clifford and Lady Clifford.

13 March 1928

Tragedy Struck

Father Marriette went to inspect the work. While in front of the building, a workman carelessly dropped a plank from the steeple, about 100 ft in height. The beam fell on Fr Marriette’s head and he died at 9.30 p.m. in Singapore General Hospital.

13 March 1928

7 April 1929

Blessing of the Church

Blessing of the Church was on Sunday 7 April 1929 by Rt Rev Mgr. L. Perrichon was witnessed by some 6,000 people who streamed in from various parts of the island and the Federated States of Malaya including the Governor.

Father Stephen Lee, the first Parish Priest in his first sermon, thanked the people for the hard work over the three years, the generous support and contributions. As long as Singapore lasts, this Church will testify the stirring Catholic qualities to make our Lord Jesus Christ known.

The entire cost of the building was $254,000.

Mr. Michael Goh who is today serving as our Senior Parish Secretary, was in his late teens then, recalls how the church was only “half full” on Sundays even in the late 1930s. Kampong Bahru was still an “ulu” place then.

1933

The Hood Lodge

In 1933,the sisters of the Convent of the Holy Infant Jesus (St Teresa Convent) rented it from the Church to run a private school for Indian girls, daughters of Indian port workers in the area. During the Japanese occupation, it was a refuge for Catholics of the district whose homes had been bombed or occupied by the Japanese Military Administration, and for some poor war widows and orphans.

From October 1945 to 1950 the Hood Lodge was occupied by the orphans and subsequently used as a meeting place for various parish organizations. Later, it became know as “Stella Maris”, a place for seafarers to rest and relax when their ships call at Singapore, a “seamen’s club”. Its door was opened to all seafarers who wanted to get away from their vessels whilst they dropped anchors here. And for some year from 1950s the Lodge also became the temporary home for priests who had escaped communist China.

The Hood Lodge was truly a refuge, a school, a home, a place for every need and everyone and for all times.

1933

1938

Carmelite Nuns

Mgr A Devals, Bishop of Malacca, invited the Carmelite Nuns of Bangkok to start a foundation in his diocese. Thus, the Carmelites were the first contemplative order to begin their holy work in Singapore. The Carmelite Monastery was blessed on May 10, 1938.

1952

De La Salle Boys School

In 1952 the school was built

1952

1953

St Teresa Convent

In 1953 St Teresa Convent had a new home in Radin Mas.
Church of St Teresa Singapore

Mass Times

Monday - Friday: 6:00 p.m
​Saturday: 5:30 p.m
​Sunday: 8:00 a.m, 10:00 a.m, 12:00 p.m, 5:30 p.m
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Mass Times

Monday - Friday: 6:00 pm
​Saturday: 5:30 pm
​Sunday: 8:00 am, 10:00 am, 12:00 pm, 5:30 pm