When she was in Kota Marudu, Sabah, Malaysia, with a group of volunteers to paint the walls of a children’s hostel, a student turned up to ask her openly in an assembly, "Why are you here?" Her answer was simply, "God is love and I love you as well."
The journey started from this point onwards—while she was on mission trips to evangelize people, to uncover the presence of God for them, she was in turn evangelized by the very people she came into contact with. They did, indeed, reveal the Christ within them!
A secular Franciscan, Ms. MaryClaire Fan, OFS, founded Clare’s Missionary Organization (CM), in Yishun, Singapore in 2010.
"There’s only one word that I can say, 'gratitude.' What I do in Clare’s Missionary is actually love return love," MaryClair shared. "God first loved me, and I love Him in return. To love God is to serve, follow, obey, please, and do His will. To be able to serve is a gift and grace from God."
A Singaporean, MaryClaire has roots in a Taoist family and embraced Catholicism in January 1999 after experiencing the goodness of God, who answered her prayer and professed into the Secular Franciscan Order in September 2003.
CM is based on the concept of Christ in the marketplace. Operating from a shop unit in Yishun, Singapore, it embodies the twin spirit of service and evangelism with a view.
MaryClaire asserts, "This is my call to be present to the people around us. Our purpose here is to evangelize and provide service."
CM started with a few people, and they did what they could for God and others.
Clare’s Missionary is a member organization in the Archdiocese of Singapore and an affiliate member of Caritas Humanitarian Aid Relief Initiatives, Singapore (CHARIS), the umbrella body of all Catholic organizations involved in overseas humanitarian aid.
CM runs with the vision to "Proclaim Christ to all," the mission to "Be a living Gospel," and the motto to be "In joyful loving service to those around us all."
MaryClaire said, "Christian mission is much more than just going anywhere to do good. We are entrusted with a mission, a message that we must proclaim and make known to all, and that is the good news of Jesus Christ."
She stated that the primary purpose of the Christian mission is that such proclamation needs to be done at the right time under the right circumstances.
Locally in Singapore, CM serves through Clare’s Enrichment Corner (CEC), a center for learning, caring, and sharing in the heartlands of Yishun.
CEC imparts knowledge, skills, and the right attitudes to children; to learn, unlearn and relearn.
The enrichment center has been reaching out to the local community with services such as subsidized tuition for children in need and enrichment programs for adults and children from all walks of life.
CEC provides tuition and after-school care for children from preschool to primary levels of education.
Recently, CEC has embarked on online tuition services that cater to those eager to learn from the comforts of their home, and this came in especially useful during the pandemic lockdown.
Apart from supporting academic development in children, CEC also conducts free Bible storytelling on some Sundays, and creative activities in appreciation of the world.
It provides free coding classes for children, free English reading classes for primary and secondary students, and free homework clinics for upper primary and secondary students. These classes are extended to non-Christians as well.
As part of their enrichment classes, CEC organizes soap-making, fruit enzyme-making, and hands-on homegrown organic vegetables and herbs classes for adults.
At CEC, a Thrift Corner has also been set up to sell new and pre-owned items at affordable prices to those in need of them. This promotes up-cycling and reduces wastage. The proceeds from the sale of these items go to funding the work of CM.
For overseas outreach, CM organizes mission trips to Sabah, Malaysia in collaboration with the Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Conception (FSIC), Sabah, the clergy, and the lay Catholic community in Sabah and Labuan, to serve the indigenous communities.
In the Sandakan Diocese, Sabah, Malaysia, CM carried out visits to the FSIC kindergartens and hostels in Paitan.
In the Keningau Diocese, Sabah, Malaysia, CM introduced and organized the English Camp in St. Maria Goretti Girls’ Hostel, Binaong, during the school holidays. The same was done in the Kota Kinabalu Diocese, Sabah, in San Damiano Girls’ Hostel, Kiulu, during the school holidays.
Besides, CM also assisted in the building of chapels and prayer huts.
In response to the Laudato Si message of Pope Francis to care for our common home, CM jointly collaborated with the Creation Justice Commission, Kota Kinabalu, the Eco-Outreach Team, and the Franciscan Sisters to establish the Pace Bene Ecological Learning Centre, the Pace Bene Organic Farm, and the Cafe Laudato Si in Papar, Sabah.
CM made possible classes for organic cultivation of vegetables as well as other formation courses in the Ecological Learning Centre for the people of Sabah.
CM is now collaborating with the Franciscan Sisters to establish the "Bloom and Blossom" English Literacy Program in the Pace Bene Ecological Learning Centre to provide Indonesian migrant children who are unable to attend formal school with weekly English lessons in the center.
The humble mission of CM extends beyond the small city-state and finds roots in Sabah through unrelenting faith and trust in God alone.
Radio Veritas Asia (RVA), a media platform of the Catholic Church, aims to share Christ. RVA started in 1969 as a continental Catholic radio station to serve Asian countries in their respective local language, thus earning the tag “the Voice of Asian Christianity.” Responding to the emerging context, RVA embraced media platforms to connect with the global Asian audience via its 21 language websites and various social media platforms.