One Hundred and Sixty Years

May 23, 2018


A long and grueling journey by five courageous women in 1858 was only the humble beginning to a tradition of spiritual and social leadership marked by selfless contribution and commitment. Before there was a railway uniting Canada, before there was a country, province, or city of Victoria, members of the Sisters of St. Ann and their lay companion traveled from St. Jacques, Quebec to establish a mission on Vancouver Island.

The 160th anniversary of the arrival of the Sisters of St. Ann to Victoria on June 5 marks a legacy of accomplishment and service that laid the foundation for education, health care and spiritual accompaniment in British Columbia.

In the years since the Sisters founded a one-room school and convent in a run-down shack with dirt floors, the Sisters of St. Ann have built schools and hospitals, homes for the aged and underprivileged in communities across BC, Yukon and Alaska.

“The Sisters of St. Ann have played a significant role in shaping the history of BC for 160 years. We continue to serve our communities and province through our prayer and advocacy work for the poor, the homeless, the oppressed and those without a voice in society,” says Sister Marie Zarowny, Province Co-leader of the Sisters of St. Ann.  “We no longer build structures of brick and mortar, but our continuing commitment to creating a more just and caring world furthers the mission to which the Sisters of St. Ann in the Pacific Northwest have devoted themselves for 160 years.”

On Saturday, June 2nd, in celebration of the Sisters of St. Ann’s 160th anniversary, a special Mass of Thanksgiving will be celebrated at St. Andrew’s Cathedral at 10:30, followed by a program at the Royal BC Museum at 1:30.  Exhibitions developed for the event will be open to the public, as well as the Sisters’ original convent and schoolhouse, Helmcken House and the Sisters of Saint Ann Archives, all located in or on the site of the museum.


Photo collage by Carey Pallister, Sisters of St. Ann Archivist


  1. |

    Congratulations and thanks for all that you have been, are and continue to be.

  2. |

    I have appreciated the love, commitment and sisterhood of the Sisters on our island. These pioneering women have helped to shape the early development of our province by intimately touching the lives of so many people. Thank you for your presence which will continue in the spirit of this land and especially in the fibre of the church.

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