With more than half a century of history and transformations, the CHIJ Alumni Association is proud to still be here today, serving both the former and the current students of the IJ family.
We first formed in September 1926, 83 years ago, when a group of girls who had graduated decided to form the Convent Old Girls’ Association to celebrate their identity as IJ girls. Despite the ravages and disruptions from World War 2, this association managed to regroup and reinvent itself as the Old Pupils’ Association in September 1950.
In 1983, The Convent of the Holy Infant Jesus Old Girls’ Association was formally registered as a society, with its most notable achievement being the successful mission that helped to ‘preserve the dignity of the old school site’. When the public MRT system was slated to run through the town convent in Victoria Street, it was the might of unity from a band of loyal and sentimental past students that eventually led to the site of the school being declared a historic conservation area. The Old Girls’ Association was there to help Town Convent reopen as CHIJMES in 1996.
On 11 July 1997, The Convent of the Holy Infant Jesus Old Girls' Association was finally named The CHIJ Alumni Association.
Reverend Mother Mathilde Raclot together with a handful of nuns of the Infant Jesus Order founded by Father Nicholas Barre in the seventeenth century, in France, arrived in Asia more than 150 years ago at the invitation of Father Jean-Marie Beurel from the religious order Les Missions Etrangeres de Paris.
Fr Beurel’s determination to build Catholic churches and schools in Asia together with the IJ Sisters’ mission to educate girls of all social classes especially those in need culminated in the building of the Convent of the Holy Infant Jesus, on Victoria Street. The “Town Convent” as it is fondly remembered by the thousands of girls it has groomed (and the few boys it once enrolled) thus began its roots in 1854, with only 14 fee paying students and a handful of orphans.
As of today, the IJ Family in Singapore has 6 primary schools, 4 secondary schools, 1 full school and 3 homes and welfare centers. Ties formed by the many thousands who had benefitted from the education and Christ centred loving care received over the years remain to this day – ties manifested for many, in the form of membership to the CHIJ Alumni Association.