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Music and Art

In 1913, the Sisters purchased a Casavant organ, made by Brothers in Quebec with stencilled pipes that were later painted over. It was placed in the choir loft, at the rear of the chapel, and was played by concert organists and Sisters, who tried their best to work the complicated pulls and stops. The organ was pneumatic, with a motor to push the blower and activate the pipes.

Chapel Organ c. 2000 Chapel Organ c. 2000
(click for larger view)

Sylvia Scott, like many of the girls and women at St. Ann's, had received music training. She attempted to use her piano skills on one occasion, to play the organ. It became a team effort, with Sylvia playing the keys while her friend, down on all fours, played the foot pedals with her hands! The choir loft was weak, so only small numbers went up at any one time. This loft connected to the infirmary, through a small door. Ruth Hall (McIntyre), staying in this room during an illness, felt as if she "lived with the organ", she was so close to its frequently heard sounds.

Music, particularly singing, was an important part of attending the chapel. The sounds would mingle with the visual arts in the room, to inspire thoughts on Christian teachings. Hung behind the altar were paintings by Sister Mary Helen of the Cross. These were of "Saints Ann and Joachim Teaching Mary" and copies of Murillo's "The Annunciation" and Hoffman's "Jesus Amoung the Doctors in the Temple". Statues of "Our Lady Queen of the World", "Saint Thomas Aquinas", "Saint Anthony of Padua", "Sacred Heart" and "Saint Joseph", the foster-father of Jesus and the patron saint of Canada, graced the altar area.

The "Stations of the Cross", scenes of Christ's passion, were symbolic of the sacrifice made for humanity, one of the fundamental ideas in Christianity. Usually a series of 14 images, the "Stations of the Cross" in the chapel were panels that hung along the side walls, allowing room for visitors to use them during devotions. Catholics would walk around to each scene, and contemplate its meaning, before moving on. The boys from St. Louis College would come to the chapel on certain occasions, and so the devotions of the stations were also used by the girls as an excuse to talk, secretly, to the boys! The original series was transferred to another church and replaced by a series, which was a gift from a Mrs. Wood, between 1929 and 1931.

Stations of the Cross c. 2000 Stations of the Cross c. 2000
(click for larger view)

Stations of the Cross, detail c. 2000 Stations of the Cross, detail c. 2000

Stations of the Cross:

  1. Jesus is condemned to death
  2. Jesus carries His cross
  3. Jesus falls the first time
  4. Jesus meets His mother
  5. Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus carry the cross
  6. Veronica wipes His face
  7. Christ falls a second time
  8. Christ speaks to the women of Jerusalem
  9. Jesus falls a third time
  10. Jesus is stripped of His clothes
  11. Jesus is crucified
  12. Jesus dies
  13. Jesus is deposed, removed from the cross
  14. Jesus is placed in the tomb
Stained glass Stained glass
(click for larger view)

The art glass in the windows enhanced the spiritual feeling in the chapel. In golden amber, reds and greens, the stained glass sheds coloured rays of light on the pews below. This glass work was signed by A.F Roy, maker, 848 Yates St, Victoria 1910. Vandals destroyed much of the glass in the doorway, but notice the restored transom window, with "S.A." for "Saint Ann", the left door with "I.H.S.", Iesus Hominum Salvator (Greek: Jesus, Savior of Humanity), and the right door with the symbols of a cross, a sword, a crown of thorns and a palm frond -all restored by Mercer and Schaefer Glass Studios. The designs of the windows on the right of the chapel begin with a dove, to represent the Holy Spirit, "Ave Maria", Latin for Hail Mary, and the "Sacred Heart", a symbol for Christ, encircled by thorns. The windows on the left depict the Lamb of God, again, "I.H.S." and the "Immaculate Heart of Mary".