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How It All Started

Reverend Mother Mathilde Raclot


In 1854, Reverend Mother Mathilde Raclot, who had already been in Penang for 2 years, led four IJ sisters to Singapore to start a girls’ school, The Convent of the Holy Infant Jesus in Victoria Street (present day CHIJMES).

Besides the school, Mother Mathilde also set up an orphanage and home for abandoned babies on Victoria Street. Children and babies were received at a wrought iron gate at the corner of Victoria Street and Bras Basah Road. This gate became known as the “ Gate of Hope “.

When the government acquired the land in Victoria Street in 1983, the convent, schools (CHIJ Toa Payoh and CHIJ St. Nicholas Girls’ School) and the IJ Home were relocated.

The “Gate of Hope