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  • Sister Gerard Fernandez began to sing 'How Great Thou Art' as she entered the hanging

  • chamber on the morning of Friday, November 25th, 1988.

  • The hymn was condemned inmate Catherine's favorite and singing brought a sense of calm.

  • It was also a way to show Catherine a final act of love during her last few moments of

  • life.

  • Sister Gerard turned her head away as the scene began to unfold in front of her.

  • There was nothing to be gained by having this be her last visual of Catherine.

  • She listened as Catherine walked up the spiral staircase to the platform.

  • Then a lock clicked as her hands were manacled behind her.

  • A murmur as the executioner said something to Catherine as he placed the rope around

  • her neck.

  • The soft rustle of cloth as a white hood was pulled down over her face.

  • For a long moment, there was silence.

  • Then Sister Gerard felt it in her body as the lever was pulled.

  • The trapdoor opened.

  • Catherine was gone.

  • As a teenager Sister Gerard felt called to help people.

  • On May 19, 1956 at the age of 18, she entered the Good Shepherd Convent, a Roman Catholic

  • order of nuns in Marymount, Singapore.

  • After taking her vows, Sister Gerard taught primary school and worked with troubled teens.

  • Eventually she, along with two priests, founded the Roman Catholic Prison Ministry to work

  • with drug offenders and other prisoners.

  • In 1981 Singapore was shocked by the ritualistic murders of two children by self-styled medium

  • Adrian Lim, his wife Catherine Tan and mistress Hoe Kah Hong.

  • After a long, sensationalistic trial, the three were condemned to death.

  • As it turns out Sister Gerard knew one of the young victims; her older sister worked

  • at the school...and she also knew one of the murderers--Catherine had once been a pupil

  • of hers.

  • Due to connections through her prison ministry work, Sister Gerard was able to get permission

  • to visit Catherine in prison with one caveat--Catherine had to want to see her.

  • Sister Gerard sent Catherine a letter.

  • It was over 6 months later before Catherine actually answered the letter agreeing for

  • her to come.

  • Soon Sister Gerard was making weekly visits to Changi prison, a high-security prison complex

  • to visit Catherine.

  • She wasn't allowed to enter Catherine's cell, so during the half hour visit, the two

  • women would hold hands through the bars and chat, or pray and sing hymns together.

  • One day Catherine asked Sister Gerard to hear her confession, which is when Catholics tell

  • a priest their sins, express remorse and ask for forgiveness.

  • Catherine's demeanor began to change after that day.

  • Over time she found peace within her faith and with Sister Gerard's help was able to

  • reconnect with her father whom she had been estranged from.

  • All three prisoners were in solitary confinement.

  • But Hoe Kah Hong's cell was next to Catherine's and she would eavesdrop during Sister Gerard's

  • visits.

  • Soon, she asked to see Sister Gerard too, and began her own spiritual journey.

  • For nearly 7 years, until the women were executed in 1988, Sister Gerard made weekly visits

  • to them.

  • Adrian too began to receive counseling from Father Doro, who was also involved in the

  • Catholic Prison Ministry.

  • Sister Gerard and Father Doro provided support to Adrian, Catherine and Hoe until the very

  • end.

  • The night before the execution Sister Gerard Fernandez stayed up late praying for many

  • things including Catherine's soul, and the grace & courage to support her tomorrow.

  • Just before dawn, for the last time she headed to Changi prison to visit Catherine.

  • Catherine had just finished her last meal when she met up with Sister Gerard.

  • She had on a blue dress with a sash and matching shoes; she looked young and sweet.

  • Sister Gerard was reminded of long ago when Catherine was one of her students, with a

  • potentially bright future ahead of her.

  • Sister Gerard reached out and took Catherine's hand.

  • It was cold.

  • The two women held hands as they were escorted to the gallows.

  • It was a final chance for a prayer and to say goodbye.

  • Sister Gerard is now in her 80's and has slowed down a bit, but still works with people.

  • For 40 years she volunteered, counseling the prisoners in Singapore's prisons system.

  • During that time she has walked 18 prisoners to their executions.

  • When asked why she spent so much time helping murderers and other prisoners Sister Gerard

  • says that her calling is helping broken people and that she wants to live up to the words

  • of the foundress of her order, St Mary Euphrasia, who said: “One person is more precious than

  • the whole world.”

  • And now that you've reached the end of our video, why not keep the watch party going?!

  • If you wanted to know the difference between an atheist versus an agnostic boy do we have

  • the video for you!

  • And if you wanted to know about the terrible history of the death penalty, click this video:

Sister Gerard Fernandez began to sing 'How Great Thou Art' as she entered the hanging

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The Nun Who Walks Death Row Inmates To Their Deaths

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    Summer posted on 2020/08/28
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