Monthly Archives: April 2015

Uplifting, Encouraging & Empowering


1988 was the year when I first met the Good Shepherd Sisters.  A team of them came to Sabah to set up the Women’s Crisis Centre.  Years went by, but I knew little about the Sisters other than what I had heard from the church network that they were still active in Sabah.

I left the seminary in 1993 and pursued my studies while working at Outward Bound Sabah, Singapore, Hong Kong and Australia.  Having to work and support myself through school, and other personal struggles, I felt a strong urge and passion to work with youths and families in their natural family setting.

My own deep love for my parents and family led me to organise gatherings and camps for my family members, including nephews and nieces, to build family bonds.  Gradually, these activities were extended to my village families, communities, NGOs and churches in Sabah.  Due to the popular demand, I decided to turn it into a business.

One day in 2003, I was surprised to receive a call from Sr. Imelda and Sr. Sandra asking for a Youth Teambuilding Programme.  This was the start of my involvement with the Good Shepherd mission.  I was very happy to meet local Good Shepherd Sisters helping local youths, a much-needed service.

At the end of the programme, Sr. Sandra invited me to be on their list of partners to help out with future programmes.  I accepted the invitation readily.  This led to much co-operation and collaboration in running youth programmes over the next few years.

In 2006, the youth programme was expanded to include the Uplift, Encourage and Empower (UEE), Youth Leadership and Facilitation (YLF) and Family Building and Reconciliation (FBR) to cater to different groups and needs.  They were developed in consultation with Sr. Maria Depal, who is currently overseeing the development of the programmes in the Archdiocese of Kota Kinabalu, and the Dioceses of Keningau and Sandakan.  Sr Maia helped to design and deliver the programmes.  It was challenging, but fulfilling and enriching work.  Many participants experienced changes in their lives after attending the programmes.

The good responses to the programmes served to motivate me and allow me to be God’s instrument of change.  The programmes and activities are my way of helping the participants to experience the love and presence of Gode.  I must say that the Sisters are very hospitable and friendly and they make me really feel at home working with them and learning from them.

As a family man and businessman, I do have challenges managing my time.  But I see it as a matter of priority to also devote time to the youth programme.  I thought, “If not me, then who?” The words of Mother Mary, “Let your will be done,” strengthens my commitment to carry on.  Hopefully, I’m able to reach out to the many people in need via the Good Shepherd Sisters in Sabah, and in the spirit of St Mary Euphrasia, to touch many hearts.

The solid support from the Good Shepherd Sisters has been really uplifting, encouraging and empowering to my family and me.  Thank you, Sisters.

~ Terence J Dolinting ~


Dorothy’s Family


Her youthful looks belie her age and she has a vigour that matches the children under her care.  Her name is Dorothy Loke.  And she is the longest – serving employee at the Villamaria Good Shepherd Kindergarten in Kuala Lumpur.  Twenty-five years of service!  What a testimony of her commitment to the Good Shepherd mission!  Still her association with the institution goes back even further.

At the age of five, her mother passed away.  Dorothy and her siblings were split up.  There was a lot of change and uprooting in her life.  She was raised and educated at different places.  However, at age 13, she was sent to the Good Shepherd Home in Ulu Klang where she continued her studies at the Vocational School.  It was here, for the first time, that her life took on some form of permanence and stability.

“I witnessed the kindness of the nuns and fully appreciated their kindness to me, Sr. Ita was the Mother Superior then, and they all treated me like family,” she recounted.  This kindness led Dorothy, upon completion of their studies, to work at the Good Shepherd Convent in Jalan Ampang.  As an assistant teacher, Dorothy also helped out in the canteen, bookshop and the office.

When the Villamaria Good Shepherd Kindergarten was opened in 1978, Dorothy was part of the pioneering team sent to get the kindergarten up and running.  She proudly said, “It was an exciting time.  I wanted to repay the kindness of the nuns.  I was willing to do anything and everything to help make the kindergarten a success.”

Dorothy took a three-year break to raise her daughter.  She rejoined the kindergarten in 1984.  Twenty-five years on, she still committed to the Good Shepherd mission, working as an assistant teacher and still “ready to do anything and everything as long as I am needed”, she quipped.

When I asked Dorothy what had sustained or motivated her loyalty all these years, she looked a little perplexed, then simply said, “This is my family.  I have children of my own, but this is my family too.  We have our ups and downs like any family. We may disagree, but the next day, everything is OK.  I have a lot of joy working here.  And there’s a lot of laughter, too!

  ~ Debbie Leon ~