Saint Ann Convent

Institution founded in 1857, Montréal, Québec.

Saint Ann School was established in 1857, an initiative of Sulpician priest, Father Michael O’Brien, whose desire was to open a school for girls of Irish descent. This new school was built on McCord Street (today de la Montagne) in Montreal. As soon as it was founded, he asked the Sisters of the Congrégation de Notre-Dame if they would teach at the school. The founding sisters were Sister Sainte-Agnès (Anastasie Rossiter) and Sister Saint-Étienne (Adélaïde Jarret). Because the building of cut stone was not ready for the beginning of the 1857 school year, the sisters were obliged to receive the students in three classrooms in a small brick house located nearby on Saint-Augustin Street (today Rioux). Once the school was completed, the sisters kept the small house. In the first year, there were five hundred enrolled students. At the beginning, the school was under the direction of the Sulpicians. The school was blessed on October 21, 1857 by Father Michael Joseph O’Farrell who, in 1864, was responsible for the construction of a first annex to the house on Saint-Augustin Street. It was at this time that the school took the name Saint Ann Academy. In the now larger school, the students could take subjects affiliated with the cours modèle et académique. From 1864, in addition to the regular courses, the sisters taught food preparation, shorthand and sewing. From 1948, high school level classes were taught.

In 1861, the sisters established their residence in the Saint-Augustin Street building. At that time the school numbered seven hundred forty registered students. Some years later, in 1885, the house fell into disrepair and had to be demolished. The other building underwent important expansion work so that the sisters could move in permanently. When Faubourg Saint Ann Parish was canonically established, the Sisters of the Congregation took the direction of the school. In 1882, it became a school of the Montreal Catholic School Commission. Two years later, Saint Ann Parish was administered by the Redemptorist priest, Father John Catulle. In 1957, celebrations were held to underline the 100th anniversary of the school’s establishment. The celebrations were on such a large scale that planning began as early as 1955. The former students of the Our Lady of Perpetual Help Alumni Association were very involved with the organization. The festivities were launched with a grand concert and banquet and were closed with a High Mass celebrated by Cardinal Paul-Émile Léger. Around 1967, there was question of demolishing the Saint Ann School and Church because they had fallen into disrepair. To show their disagreement to this announcement, the students, brandishing placards, demonstrated in the streets. This protest made the news in several Montreal newspapers. In 1968, the School Commission informed the sisters that it intended to cease renting out space in the school. Despite this decision, the sisters continued their mission of education by teaching night courses to adults in Saint Ann Academy until 1974, the year in which the school permanently closed. The sisters moved to Holy Trinity Convent on Montgomery Street in Montreal. When they arrived, the small yellow brick house they were renting needed important renovations. To receive eleven sisters, a large room was divided into four smaller rooms. There was also a community room, a small chapel and even a garden on the roof. While some sisters continued to teach in Montreal schools, others worked with the poor and the sick.

NB: This text was written using documents found in the archival holdings in our possession and does not constitute a complete administrative history of the teaching establishment.

Saint Ann Convent

Saint Ann Convent

Montreal, Quebec

Institution fondée en 1857

Dernière adresse : Near 240, rue Rioux

Saint Ann Convent

Saint Ann Convent

Montreal, Quebec

Institution fondée en 1857

Dernière adresse : 455, rue de la Montagne

First location : Near 240, rue Rioux
Second location : 455, rue de la Montagne