The Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd also known as Good Shepherd Sisters is an international congregation of religious women. The Good Shepherd Sisters are called to a mission of reconciliation. They express their charism of merciful love through a contemplative life or an apostolic life. Like other religious, they profess the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience and an additional fourth vow of zeal.
Since 1956, the Good Shepherd Sisters have zealously served in Malaysia. Their ministry is particularly with women and children who have been wounded by life’s circumstances and live on the edge of society. They accompany those who are in need and also network with other groups to change unjust structures in society.From its humble beginnings of a convent in Jalan Ampang, Good Shepherd mission has evolved to include residential and hostel facilities, outreach programmes and micro enterprise projects for disadvantaged women, children and youths in the states of Selangor, Perak, Johor and Sabah.
A thanksgiving mass to mark sixty years of Good Shepherd presence and mission in Malaysia was celebrated on 12th November 2016, befittingly in the Church of the Good Shepherd, Setapak. The mass was celebrated by Most Rev. Archbishop Julian Leow and con-celebrated by His Eminence Cardinal-Elect Archbishop Emeritus Soter Fernandez, Rev. Fr. Christopher Wilvaraj, Rev. Fr. Joseph Pereira and Rev. Fr. Philip Tan, CDD and attended by many well-wishers from near and far.
The Good Shepherd Sisters have tirelessly reached out to what Archbishop Julian Leow calls the 4 Ls, “the little, the lost, the last and the least” and they continue to do so with the unceasing zeal of the Good Shepherd. They reach out to the people who are marginalised. The readings for the celebration perfectly reminded us that everyone plays a part in this life according to the gifts that they have been blessed with.
The church isn’t only for saints but more so for sinners. Everyone is important and inclusive, small and great alike and the Good Shepherd leaves no one behind. Going after the lost sheep is no simple tasks but in the Lord’s vineyard, it is a rewarding experience. Though we are many, we belong to one faith, one baptism, one Body of Christ. This is the bond of Christian brotherhood that can never be broken. We are strengthened in our weakness as each person has a distinct and unique role to play in the salvation of souls.
Archbishop Julian Leow reminded all present to discern their calling every day; to ponder whether we are listening to the voices of the lost ones, the trafficked, and the ones who are sold and are treated as mere objects. He urged us to pray for the Good Shepherd Sisters as they continue to seek the needy in our society and serve them. We too are encouraged to reach out to one another, to play our roles and serve our society, to reach out to the lost sheep and bring back the lost, the rejected and the wounded to Christ.
Even with only a minimal number of Good Shepherd Sisters in the country, together with their mission partners, they continue to bring back the 4 Ls into the church’s fold through their perseverance and wisdom. Having attended the 60th Jubilee celebration and hearing about all the Sisters have done in Malaysia, one cannot help but ponder upon the words of St. Mary Euphrasia, founder of the Good Shepherd Congregation: "What are we doing in this world, and why are we here, if not to contribute to the well-being of our neighbours?"
In the apostolic exhortation entitled “Amoris Laetitia”, Pope Francis called on the faithful to be more welcoming and less judgmental. God, in his loving design, excludes no one. Inclusion is an “aspect of mercy,” reaching out to everyone without regard for social conditions, language, race, culture, or religion. It is manifested in the love of each person “as God loves them”.
Fr Christopher, parish priest of Good Shepherd Church exclaimed how the Sisters and laity can work hand in hand to achieve the common goal of searching and tending the wounded and those left behind by society. With deep gratitude, Sr. Salomi then thanked all mission partners, well-wishers, volunteers and fellow religious who pooled their resources together to serve the less fortunate. All present were then served a sumptuous lunch while having fellowship with each other.