Societies were set up at the Academy, mostly for religious purposes. The 1923 prospectus lists them, beginning with the League of the Sacred Heart. All Catholic pupils were members of this confraternity, established in 1871. The members of the Sodality of the Blessed Virgin held regular monthly meetings. The aim was “to foster a tender devotion to the Blessed Mother of God, the ideal of all true womanhood.” The Holy Angel Sodality was in the Intermediate Department, and the Sodality of the Holy Child was established for the youngest pupils.
The St. Thomas Aquinas Reading Circle was formed in 1907. It involved all the interested pupils in the school with the aim to “foster a taste for good, ennobling literature; to counterbalance ... the light, contaminating works now so current and so enticing to the youthful mind.” The students met to read, listen to guest speakers and participate in all sorts of activities. Among the events were a lecture on architecture, delivered to the Aquinas Literary Circle by one of the Sisters, and a reading by the famous Vancouver Island Poet Audrey Alexandra Brown, who came to recite some of her works and to speak on the life of a poet. The Society often met in the Library, giving the room one of its many names.
The Circle put together a scrap book, during the years 1920-24 and 1927-30. It contained photographs from those years. On the Feast of St. Thomas Aquinas, the girls would organize a special outing. On March 7, 1921, they went to Langford Lake and in 1923 held a picnic at Prospect Lake. A president and council were chosen to run the club each year, and their snap shots were also pasted in, alongside items such as a March 1923 news clipping, marking the opening of King Tutankhamenís tomb in Egypt.
The Aquinian was the title chosen for the school publication, which included the poetry, essays, drawings and news items of the students at St. Annís Academy. This was printed at least once a year, sometimes more frequently, and became a source of pride and frustration to the student editors and publishers. The old issues have come down through the years, to give a strong sense of student life at the Academy, and many hints at events led to research for topics within this web site.
Verse from hymn to St. Thomas Aquinas:
Come be the guide of our schoolís reading circle
Light up our minds with pure rays from above
Give to our words all the fullness of wisdom
Inflame our hearts with the fire of Godís love