Sunday, June 2, 2013

                                                                                                                 June 2, 2013

524 West 6th Street
(North Vancouver Archives Photo #3444)

Sisters of the Child Jesus-Convent Chapel
North Vancouver, B.C. Canada

Much of the origins of the Convent Chapel of the Sisters of the Child Jesus is told in blueprints on file at the North Vancouver Archives.  

"The sisters of the Child Jesus founded in 1667, came to Canada from Le Puy France in 1896.  ...(they) came to the West Coast of Canada.

"The Sisters came at the request of Paul Durieu, omi, Bishop of New Westminster.  ...four came to North Vancouver to establish what became known as St. Paul's School. 

"In 1897 the Sisters of the Child Jesus bought five city blocks of land in North Vancouver from the government.  St. Paul's residential school was built on this site... (approximately where the Convent Annex and St. Thomas Aquinas High School parking lot now are.)

"In 1910 ...for a dollar the Sisters sold the land needed to build St. Edmund's Catholic Church... In 1911 the Sisters built St. Edmund's School and in 1949 sold it to the Archdioceses of Vancouver.  The present Convent (Originally built as the regional headquarters of the Sisters of the Child Jesus.)  was built in 1932. (The Building Permit was for a $3600 building.) 1961 the Annex was added on to the West side of the building.  During the 60's, the Convent and Annex provided accommodation for 60 Sisters." (REF 1.)

Main Floor of Convent
(Chapel seen as rear extension.)

The Chapel is in the center rear of the Convent on both the main and upper floors. The entrance was in line with the front West 6th Street door of the Convent.  The nave was 25' 10" across with a center aisle and two side aisles and an oak lower floor.  The altar was made of marble from France.  Originally there were ceiling windows in the chancel.  However, these were covered up in a remodeling.  

Main Floor Chapel

Upper Floor of Convent

Center doors open to  balcony on the upper floor of the Chapel.  The floors here are made of fir.  On the west side of the balcony was a bedroom reserved for sisters who were ill.  It was fitted with a window into the chapel to allow them to see and hear the services.

Upper Floor of Chapel

Exterior Elevation of Chapel

The two story Chapel had pointed arched windows and an entrance with a small porch at the rear of the Convent. This entrance led to a hall and then to the Boy's Sacristy on the east side of the Chapel and the Priest's Sacristy on the west side.  Both of these then had doors into the Sanctuary chancel.

Entrance to the Convent Chapel
(at the rear of the building)

Original Chapel
(Copy of a photo hanging on the wall of the Convent in 2002.)
 In the year 2000 the Vancouver Archdiocese purchased the Convent.  It is now used by St. Thomas Aquinas High School.  "This heritage building now houses the music, drama and choir programs. It is also the home of our beautiful chapel." (Link.)  

Note: For more information on the Convent of the Child Jesus see Blog 
            Post 6/9/13.
 Photos:  A series of black and white photos of details of the interior of the
            building were taken in 2002 for the permanent collection at the North
            Vancouver Archives. 
Reference 1: Notes from meeting with Sister Denece Billesberger, 2002.  Sister
            Billesberger was the last remaining Sister of the Child Jesus living in the 
            Convent building.
Reference 2: Blueprints are on file at the North Vancouver Archives.

Blueprint Title

Reference 3: The Outlook, "Convent to be Converted", Nov. 15, 2001.

God, be with the persecuted Christians through out the world. Amen

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