Order of Malta Singapore Working Retreat 2023


Saturday with a difference. Twenty five of us from the Singapore Association of the Order of Malta attended the full day Working Retreat on 18 March 2023 at the Kent Ridge Guild House.

Opening Prayer and Spiritual Input led by Sister Marilyn Lim focused on “Lent: A Time for Returning” about the prodigal son whose father’s love is so total and unconditional that he simply welcomed his son home. Similarly, we are precious to God.

Thoughts for reflection “If God can respond to me in such love and forgiveness, how can I respond to those whom I encounter? As a church, how can we be a body of forgiveness and reconciliation in the world?” Sister also shared the symbolism and meaning in the Icon of The Trinity by Andrei Rublev.

Our Retreat Master Mr Andrew Sng invited us to be present, to be a gift and be contemplative about what is the Lord inviting each of us to do.  The desired outcomes of the retreat are a) renewal of commitment to our mission, and b) develop a shared list of spiritual formation activities and works for the next three years.  To this, Andrew pointed out that our goal should not be merely doing good. We ought to identify works that are of distinct and faithful relevance, fulfilling an unmet or underserved need in a manner that is magis and changes the overall landscape/society in a positive way.

Andrew structured the Working Retreat based the principles of See, Judge, Act. The Process involved reflecting on (1) Current Profile (2) Future Operating Arena, and (3) Future Strategic Profile, covering major changes that have occurred or are about to occur in both the external as well as the internal environment. This includes the success or failure of current activities (spiritual and works of mercy) and how they align with the Order’s charism. (4) Strategic Options, moving forward, what we think possible new activities (spiritual and works of mercy) for the Order in the next 1-3 years. (5) Critical Issues to resolve from where we are to where to go.

Breakout Sessions

There were three breakout teams, one discussed external changes and another discussed internal changes including the Order’s more/less successful areas in recent years. The third team focused on identifying and deliberating changes within the Church.

Team 1 (JY Pillay, Katharine, James, Paul, Lynne, Edward and Harold) in discussion on external environment.
Team 2 (Barry, James, Marcus, Rose, Andre, John, Gillian) discussing state of affairs internally of the Order
Team 3 (Joseph, Kevin, Harry, Michael, David, Lewis, Nicole, Wendy) discussing on changes happening within the Catholic community in Singapore.

Plenary Session

Various teams presented their results of group discussion: The participants were candid with their observations, assessments, lessons as well as insightful thoughts and proposals to move forward.

Critical Issues

Andrew highlighted the following issues need resolution to get to where we want to get to:

  • Obstacles to success
  • Special attention needed
  • Problems (need to be solved)
  • Decisions (that need to be made)
  • Plans (need to be rolled out)
  • Things to do
  • Action items
  • Change needed

He also reminded us that Structure follows Strategy, keep in mind our Order’s Mission and that we ought to identify works that are of distinct and faithful relevance.

Closing remarks by President Rose on an enriching and fruitful retreat. The results of the discussion will be collated by the EXCO and follow-up with Mr Andrew Sng to produce an action plan.

The afternoon concluded with a mass celebrated by Father Martin Low.

Source and credits: By James & Katharine Cheah with photographs by Kwok Wai Mun

The Sovereign Military Order of Malta - Singapore Association

16 Raffles Quay, #41-07 Hong Leong Building, Singapore 048581 Email: