Convent of the Holy Infant Jesus
CHIJMES is a prominent landmark on Victoria Street. While it is best known today as a fine-dining location, the complex formerly housed the first Convent of the Holy Infant Jesus in Singapore. In 1853, Father Jean-Marie Beurel, a French missionary, purchased Caldwell House and several lots of land along the street with the intention of founding a Christian school. Together with a small congregation of Holy Infant Sisters lead by Mother Mathilde Raclot, they began began to take in students. Soon they also started a Convent Orphanage and a Home for Abandoned Babies as they found day-old babies left at their doorstep.
The Convent rapidly expanded, and continued to change with the times. Architecturally, its grandest achievement was the building of the Gothic chapel in 1903, which towers over the convent complex. At its height in the 1950s, the Convent housed the premises of CHIJ St. Nicholas’ Girls School, which took in both primary and secondary students. Unfortunately, with rapid development in the downtown area, the convent was relocated in the 1980s. Today, the beautifully preserved Gothic chapel and cloister walls stand as a testament to the determination and vision of our first IJ sisters in Singapore, who were educational pioneers in their mission to serve the poor and disadvantaged.