Sunday, June 9, 2013

                                                                                                        June 9, 2013
Saint Thomas Aquinas High School
541 West Keith Road

Saint Thomas Aquinas Chapel
North Vancouver, B.C. Canada


"The Sisters of the Child Jesus arrived in British Columbia in 1898 with a desire to do missionary work with the First Nations people of the North Shore. In 1957, after a half century of teaching involvement in the area, the sisters were approached to support the establishment of a Catholic High School on the North Shore.... (The) Provincial Superior of the order, offered to lease land owned by the sisters for the school,...  The Sisters of the Child Jesus agreed to staff the school.
"In 1959 the building was complete and the school opened with ... with nine teaching Sisters and two lay teachers. Among the almost two hundred students that first year was Denece Billesberger, (See June 2, 2013 Blog Post.)  a young woman who would in 1964 join the Sisters in their work and eventually become the Provincial of the Canadian Province for her order. 
"Between 1960 and 1975 the Sisters of the Child Jesus continued to administer the school....
Convent Wing of St. Thomas Aquinas High School
524 West 6th Street


"...in 2000 the convent of the Sisters of the Child Jesus was purchased by the archdiocese. This heritage building now houses the music, drama and choir programs. It is also the home of our beautiful chapel. ... the school enrollment climbed to 580." (Link 1.) 

Chapel at Rear of Convent Wing/West Side

The Chapel at the rear of the Convent has undergone some changes since the original blueprints were drawn up. (See Blog Post June 6, 2013.)  It seems the north entrance was moved to the north-west side garden. (See steps in photo above.)  A garage was added to the north side of the building where the original entrance had been. (See photo above and below.)

Chapel at Rear of Convent Wing/East Side

The interior of the Chapel has also undergone changes as seen when comparing the photo of the original 1932 Chapel (See Blog Post June 6, 2013.) with the 2002 photo below.)  However, it seems the side windows have remained the same.

 Chapel of Convent Wing-Interior(2002)

Rather than niches for statues  on each side of the Chancel, there are now doors. The doors go to the rooms on either side of the Chancel, originally the Boy's Sacristy and the Priest's Sacristy.  In the 1932 these doors entered directly into the Chancel. Statues now hang between the side windows.  The ceiling light fixtures do seem to be original. The pews with a cross detail seem to be the original, as well.

Note: For more information on the history of the Convent see Blog Post June 2, 2013. 
Photos: Taken in 2002 by SW.  On file in the B&W photo collection at the North Vancouver Archives.
Link 1:http://www.aquinas.org/
Link 2:http://www.cnv.org:8085/webcat/request/DoMenuRequest?SystemName=North+Vancouver+Archives&UserName=web+test&Password=web&TemplateProcessID=1004_452_1151&bCachable=1&MenuName=Search%20Holdings%20(public%20interface)



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