A mission to help girls in need

Sister Kam shaking hands with John Cardinal Tong Hon during a Mass for jubilarians at the Cathedral of Immaculate Conception, Caine Road, on December 7.

Good Shepherd Sister Louise Kam Sau-ling, who celebrated her 60th anniversary of religious profession this year, said her motto while serving adolescent girls with problems was the words from her founder, St. Mary Euphrasia Pelletier, who believed the value of a lost sheep was greater than the world.

The 85-year-old sister said, in a feature in Kung Kao Po published on January 5, that she was touched by the selfless contributions of the Good Shepherd sisters when she was young, and she later set the direction of her life as a supporter of girls in difficulties.

Sister Kam lost her mother when she was a child and the burden of bringing up eight children was shouldered only by her father, who let all his children be baptised in a Protestant church so as to learn good values. 

Sister Kam recalled that she knew more about Catholicism after she joined the Maryknoll Convent School (Primary Section). As she entered into its secondary section, she longed to join the Catholic Church, but she met the opposition of her father who was worried that a Catholic could not be buried in the same Protestant cemetery where her mother had been laid to rest.

She received Catholic baptism when she was in form four. At that time, her father was invited by the sisters at school to attend her baptism ceremony. Her father, who had been a business man in Peru and could speak Spanish, met a Spanish priest during the occasion. 

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“The priest regularly visited my father. Two months after I made my first vow, the priest baptised my dying father. My father was later buried in a Catholic cemetery,” Sister Kam said.

Sister Kam remembered that she was determined to join the convent when she was baptised as a Catholic and began to look into the characteristics of different religious institutes since then. 

After she completed her training in Northcote College of Education, she worked as a teacher at St. Mary’s Canossian College, Tsim Sha Tsui. During the recess time of the school, she saw a number of nuns taking care of young girls in the cottages downhill. She visited them out of curiosity and realised that they were the Good Shepherd sisters who just came from Shanghai. She was invited to visit them and work as a volunteer there every week.

She was gradually sure that she would be happy in the religious institute as she liked to help the girls in need instead of being involved in the mainstream education.

She joined the Good Shepherd sisters in 1956, and made her first vow in 1959 in Los Angeles, the United States, and then her permanent vow in the Philippines in 1962.

She was one of the first Good Shepherd sisters assigned to work in Pelletier School, Clear Water Bay Road, with its name derived from the saint. She served at the school starting from 1959 and later also to Marycove School, Aberdeen. She was the principal of Pelletier School from 1986 to 1989.

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After she retired, she offered to help Father Franco Mella at St. Joseph’s parish, Kowloon Bay and taught in a weekly English class for refugees English. She regularly visited prisons as well. 

Sister Kam said many of her former students were as old as her. Now the oldest ones are nearly 80 years old.

She said as a teacher, it was important to encourage her students to learn a skill so that they could earn a living. She remembered that she came across a student who was not interested in any studies. The student fortunately discovered her interest in hair styling from a Good Shepherd sister from the Philippines who taught her such skills. She became a hair stylist afterwards. 

To express her gratitude to the sisters, the student made an embroidery of Jesus’ Last Supper as a gift, which was hung at the Pelletier Convent in Clear Water Bay at present. 

She said she always told her students to learn to entrust their problems to the Lord, calm down before every trial, and try their best even the road ahead was difficult. SE

Author: SundayExam