Last week I organized a meetup for my mom and baby group at St. Ann’s Academy in downtown Victoria where we had a guided tour. Although I have driven past St. Ann’s many times and stepped onto their grounds for the Luminara event a couple of years ago, this was my first time actually inside the magnificent building.
Our tour guide was superb and full of interesting stories and anecdotes about St. Ann’s history as well as about the sisters who lived and worked there. Although as a museum it is fairly small, its stories are quite fascinating and admission is by donation so it’s well worth a visit.
Above is a picture of the altar in the Academy’s chapel. I’m embarrassed to say that, when quizzed on it by our guide, none of our group could identify who the woman is depicted in the mural above the altar. (Of course it is St. Ann!) I learned from an art history class long ago that when a figure is depicted with a half-raised hand with a crooked finger, as St. Ann is shown in the mural, it means that they are teaching. Apparently St. Ann was the mother of the Virgin Mary (who stands beside Ann in the mural) and is the patron saint to women in labour, among many other groups of people. I suppose then that it was fitting that we all brought our babies to pay her a visit!
St. Ann’s has beautiful grounds and plays host to many weddings. In fact, two of our group members that attended the meetup got married there.
St. Ann’s is one of those places in Victoria that I think a lot of people know about but have never visited. If you live here, do take the time to stop by for a look. They also need garden volunteers if you have any interest or skill in that area.