“There was no distinction of class or rank, of rich or poor in this little convent school. The daughters of the Governor, Alice, Agnes and Martha Douglas, as well as Emma and Henrietta Yates, to whose family prestige Yates Street testifies today, and the Métis orphan, Emilia Morrell, daughter of the native woman who had died in the house that was now the convent, sat side by side and thought nothing of it. Twelve students in all registered on the first day. From June 1858, to June 1859, fifty-six names appeared on the enrollment list. Although the cabin was small it was difficult to refuse the children who presented themselves. In that first classroom, seats were rough boards placed on packing boxes. A portable blackboard, slates and slate pencils and available readers sufficed…(the Sisters) sawed wood, cleared the land and planted a garden. Among the pleasant reminiscences, shades of which have come down to the present, were the picnics at Beacon Hill and the pancake feasts at the beach.”
A History of the Sisters of Saint Ann and their contribution to education in British Columbia, the Yukon and Alaska, by Edith E. Down, ssa, The Sisters of Saint Ann, 1966.
Eventually, we established or taught in 34 schools across British Columbia, the Yukon and in the States of Washington and Alaska. Some schools we owned and operated ourselves; others were owned by the Parishes and staffed wholly or partially by our Sisters. The buildings ranged from tiny one-room schoolhouses in remote communities to large urban academies. Thousands of girls and boys from kindergarten to Grade 12, including music, commercial and art students, were educated through our schools.
With the opening of St. Joseph’s Hospital in Victoria in 1876, we realized there was another area of education that needed our help: nursing education. We established St. Joseph’s School of Nursing to fill this void and over its 81 year lifespan this school attracted generations of young men and women who felt called to a demanding and rewarding career in the care of the sick.
In 1927 The Sisters of St. Ann established Little Flower Academy in Vancouver. Today, the school admits female students from Grades 8 through 12 and continues independently as a non-profit society formed in collaboration with the Sisters of St. Ann.