The Sisters of Mercy

Mad now for Monochrome and  Thank you Leanne Cole  and Laura Macky

I was wandering in the historical section of the Ross Bay Cemetery and there is a plot reserved for the Sisters of St. Ann. They came from Quebec to Vancouver Island where they taught school in a tiny log cabin during the pioneering days, Also included in an adjoining area are The Poor Clares, a  community which is the female counterpart of the order of the Franciscans.   They came later, in 1912, to live a contemplative life of poverty in the country side outside of Duncan and Victoria.  I find these women very fascinating. They left home, family and everything they knew to follow their callings.

They lived, broke bread, worked, prayed and died together.  I see their names on the stones, Sister Mary Margaret 69 years old 1890, Sister Robert Clare 24 years old 1908. Who were they?  Not much is known of them individually because they were mainly dedicated to the life of their community as a whole and to a religious ideal.  I am  moved by their anonymity and sacrifice.

This amazing austere and sorrowful statue stands in tribute and watches over the sacred space that commemorates their lives of duty.


I also am a huge  fan of the brilliant Leonard Cohen, Canadian poet and songwriter as well as of singer/songwriter Sting.

Sting with the Chieftains singing Leonard Cohen’s Sisters of Mercy


oh the sisters of mercy
oh the sisters of mercy, they are not departed or gone..




 If your life is a leaf that the seasons tear off and condemn….

convent of St. Ann
convent of St. Ann

 when you’re not feeling holy your loneliness says that you’ve sinned

Finally, shades of Thornfield Hall in Jane Eyre and other Gothic tales!! The Convent of St. Ann was built as it stands today in the French architectural style of 1858. The convent proper along with gardens and orchards, was added in 1886. It was a school for girls up until the 1970’s and is now home to the Music Conservatory. It is also said to be haunted. You can hear the bell ringing the students to class and the sound of chalk on chalk board.  Nuns  holding candles and rosary beads can be seen on moonlit nights walking two by two along the halls to the dormitory cells!  or so it is said.

17 Comments Add yours

  1. Peter Nena says:

    Gothic is lovely.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. jleos69 says:

    Beautiful pictures and a wonderful story!!


  3. I could imagine shades of the past in such a place as this. Beautiful photos, Cybele. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Maria F. says:

    They look great and I think they go well with your themes. I admire you, because I haven’t been able to go back to monochrome, probably because of all the flowers I’m doing now. Very interesting story also about these sisters.


    1. thank you!! Your flower photos are exquisitely beautiful!!


  5. YorkshireRascal says:

    I found this a very interesting read, I also find the presentation of your photos fitted in well with the atmosphere

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thank you Rascal!! I’m happy you enjoy them too!


  6. lizziegudkov says:

    Yikes! Of course, of everything you shared, this is what grabbed my attention first:

    “It is also said to be haunted. You can hear the bell ringing the students to class and the sound of chalk on chalk board. Nuns holding candles and rosary beads can be seen on moonlit nights walking two by two along the halls to the dormitory cells!”

    Go figure!! 😀

    Amazing photos. I especially like the last one. I could see something terribly surreal happening there. Beautiful shots! Great job!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes Lizzie!! rather gothic as I like!! Thanks!!!


  7. There are some of these Poor Clares communities still up-and-running in the UK. I think that most of the nuns are fairly old, so I’m not sure how much longer the communities will be there.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. true, the sisters of St. Ann are now very few and retired, and it seems the communities as they once were are dying out.


  8. Nice story, song and photo. Fantastic Cybele Moon!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Fascinating. I have a spirit guide who is a St. Clare nun. Beautiful photos too. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We do not have a long european history on the island, but I am interested in what we do have. We also have the mainly oral history of first nations people and a rich mythology there.


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