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Main Convent Ipoh’s Chapel Rebirth

by Anne Das ( Selected photos courtesy of COGA)

The Main Convent School in Ipoh has long been a symbol of education, community, and tradition. Its Chapel, once a vibrant hub of student life and the heartbeat of the institution’s spirit, holds a special place in the memories of alumni and faculty alike.

Last week saw a transformative event unfold— the blessing of the Chapel’s newly installed stained-glass panels followed by a gratitude mass,  heralding a new chapter in its storied 117-year history.

Three of the five newly installed stained-glass panels bathed in natural light.

Chapels like this evoke a myriad of emotions—awe, gratitude, wonder, mystery, and a profound silence that speaks volumes. Over the decades, this sacred space has been more than just a place of worship; it has been a sanctuary for prayer, reflection, and countless milestones such as graduations and weddings.

The Chapel’s recent makeover, which saw the installation of five exquisite stained-glass panels, was nothing short of spectacular. These panels are not merely decorative elements; they encapsulate the Chapel’s essence, casting ethereal patterns of light that dance across its interior. Timed impeccably for both Christmas and the school’s upcoming 117th anniversary, these panels symbolise the enduring spirit of the Convent School Ipoh.

Caption: (L-R) :Terry Gonsalves, Florina Ng, Mrs Sherrin Ho, Agnes Wong, Roster Wu, Fr Anthony Liew, Dato Johnson, Anna Wong, Linda Tan, Eunice Choo . All either members of Board of Governors & Alumni COGA ( Convent Girls Alumni)

The window demands the attention of anyone who walks into the otherwise dimly lit space of the historic chapel. Stained glass windows have been captivating parishioners and visitors for hundreds of years in the great cathedrals of the world as well as those that grace even the humblest of churches of many different denominations.

Father Anthony Liew of St. Michael’s Church graced the occasion, leading the special blessing ceremony. Behind the artistry of the stained glass is Roster Wu, a globally acclaimed stained-glass artist specialising in church adornments, sculptures, and cathedral organs. Wu’s craftsmanship, which recently found its way into places like Russia, the Philippines, and Macau, took four meticulous months to complete for the Main Convent School Chapel.

Behind the scenes: Ms. Agnes Wong, alongside Roster Wu’s team, ensuring the chapel’s transformation is nothing less than perfect.

 Historically, the term “stained glass” derives from the silver stain that lends a yellow hue to the glass—a tradition dating back to the 1300s. Today, it represents a kaleidoscope of coloured glass, each hue echoing stories of faith and artistry.

At the gratitude mass, as the melodies of the first post-restoration hymns filled the Chapel, attendees felt a tangible serenity. With a full house present, it seemed as though the Chapel had come alive, resonating deeply with the emotions of everyone there

Father Anthony Liew conducting the gratitude mass, surrounded by a full house of happy attendees.

 The restoration journey of these windows wasn’t without its challenges. Led by the Convent Girls Alumni (COGA), a spirited fundraising campaign was initiated to bring the stained-glass windows back to their former glory. While initial estimates pegged the project at RM140K, unforeseen material costs brought the total to RM156K. With a heartening RM130K already raised, Ms. Agnes Wong, President of COGA, expressed gratitude to the community but emphasised the remaining RM26K goal.

The journey isn’t over yet. To ensure the continued preservation and enhancement of our beloved Chapel, your support is vital. Whether you’ve been a part of this community for years or have recently been touched by its beauty and significance, there’s an opportunity for you to contribute.

How You Can Help:

Every contribution, regardless of size, propels us forward. The community is invited to a mass every 1st Saturday of the month at 8am. Do make your contributions there in person or call Agnes Wong at +6019- 5571319 for enquiries.

SMK Main Convent Ipoh

For more info about the chapel and before restoration photos visit https://www.ipohecho.com.my/2023/04/02/restoring-the-glory-of-main-convents-historic-chapel/

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