Rev. Mother Tarcisius

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The Very Rev. Mother St. Tarcisius

, M.B.E.
TitleRev. Mother Visitor of the Convents of the Holy Infant Jesus
Resting placeCheras Christian Cemetery
ProfessionEducation and founder of Convent Schools in Malaya
Senior posting
ProfessionEducation and founder of Convent Schools in Malaya Logo.png Search Rev. Mother Tarcisius on Amazon.

The Very Rev. Mother St. Tarcisius, M.B.E. (1875-1964)...[1] played an important part in the development of Convent schools in Straits Settlements including Malaya under her leadership.

Arrival at Malaya[edit]

The Very Rev. Mother St. Tarcisius
Photo of The Very Reverend Mother St. Tarcisius, founder of many Convent schools

Rev. Mother St. Tarcisius arrived Malaya in 1904[2], before the independence of Malaysia.

In 1924, she arrived in Penang Island as Mother Superior of the Convent and the head of Congregation in Malaya. She was the head of Sisters of the Infant Jesus (IJS) order of the province. She has founded many convent schools in Penang and Kedah state[3], such as SJK (C) Convent Datuk Keramat[4].

Founding of Convent Schools[edit]

In 1911-1923, she served as Reverend Mother in SMK Convent Bukit Nanas[5].

In 1930, she founded SMK Convent Butterworth at a rented house in Jalan Kampung Gajah, with an initial enrolment of forty students. The school was then moved to a new building in August 1941 at the junction of Jalan Bagan Luar and Mitchell Pier (the road later renamed to Sultan Abdul Halim Terminal after independence).[6]

In 1934, she founded St. Marguerite's Convent in Bukit Mertajam, Penang, which was started as a rented Malay house at Cross Street (now known as Jalan Arumugam Pillai)[7]. The school is now known as SMK Convent Bukit Mertajam.

In 14 January 1935, she founded Convent Datuk Keramat in Penang Island at Jalan Datuk Keramat [8]. As the number of Chinese Catholic nuns increases in the region, and most convents schools were English schools at that time, Rev. Mother Tarcisius believed that education should not be limited to English medium. She started a Chinese Convent school In a rented house with 12 kindergarten and primary students, which is now known as SJK (C) Convent Datuk Keramat[9]. The school grew quickly under the dedicated services of nuns and teachers, and later created a secondary school now named as SMJK Convent Datuk Keramat later in 1947[10]

During her term as Superior General, Convents in Malaya developed quickly in size and influence.

Award by King George V[edit]

As a token of gratitude for her great services to Education in the Straits Settlements and towards Malaya, the King of England, His Majesty King George V has presented Very Rev. Mother St. Tarcisius with Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, M.B.E. in 1936[11]

Golden Jubilee[edit]

During the celebration of her golden Jubilee in 1934, Rev. Mother mentioned "“I am obsessed with the importance of young girls and the women’s influence in the making of happier homes and to a better world while seeking to maintain a high level of academic achievements in our schools, it has been our aim to prepare our pupils for the battle of life.”[12]


Rev. Mother retired in September 1954 as Rev. Mother Visitor of the Convents of the Holy Infant Jesus. She spent her last 10 years in Penang Convent Light Street and SMK Convent Jalan Peel in Cheras, Kuala Lumpur[13]


In 1964, Very Rev. Mother St. Tarcisius had passed away at age 89. She was cremated in Cheras Christian Cemetery after her lifelong 60 years of service for Convent schools in Malaya[14]. We had lost one great educator and a reverend that was loyal to her service in developing strong principles of attaining happiness in life for young girls.


  1. Decroix, P. (2005-01-01). History of the Church and Churches in Malaysia and Singapore (1511-2000). Fr. P. Decroix M.E.P. Search this book on Logo.png
  2. "No simple main road - Community | The Star Online". Retrieved 2017-04-09.
  3. "Sejarah Sekolah". SMK CONVENT BUKIT MERTAJAM. 2016-08-01. Retrieved 2017-04-09.
  4. "Sekolah Jenis Kebangsaan (C) Convent Datuk Keramat". Wikipedia Bahasa Melayu, ensiklopedia bebas (in Bahasa Melayu). 2017-04-09.
  5. "Convent Bukit Nanas". Wikipedia. 2017-02-07.
  6. User, Super. "H 05. SMK Convent Butterworth". Retrieved 2017-04-09.
  7. "Sejarah Sekolah". SMK CONVENT BUKIT MERTAJAM. 2016-08-01. Retrieved 2017-04-09.
  8. "Convent Datuk Keramat". Wikipedia. 2017-04-09.
  9. "SJK (C) Convent Datuk Keramat". Retrieved 2017-04-09.
  10. "Convent Datuk Keramat". Wikipedia. 2017-04-09.
  11. Archives, The National. "The Discovery Service". Retrieved 2017-04-09.
  12. "Sejarah Sekolah". SMK CONVENT BUKIT MERTAJAM. 2016-08-01. Retrieved 2017-04-09.
  13. "Sejarah Sekolah". SMK CONVENT BUKIT MERTAJAM. 2016-08-01. Retrieved 2017-04-09.
  14. "Sejarah Sekolah". SMK CONVENT BUKIT MERTAJAM. 2016-08-01. Retrieved 2017-04-09.

The Very Reverend is a correct style in Roman Catholic Church. Please refer to[edit]

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