In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
1 Thessalonians 5:18
Apr 17, 2013

Catholic Legacies: A History of the Catholic Church in Victoria 

The University of Victoria invites you to join them for two days of seminars, lectures and exhibits that bring to vivid life the stories of Roman Catholic missionaries during the period of Victoria’s colonial settlement. The focus is on two extraordinary legacies: the “bishop’s books,” a collection of 3500 rare editions from the Renaissance to the 20th-century brought to Victoria during the 1870s and currently housed in the University of Victoria’s Special Collections; and the Sisters of St. Ann archives, now available for viewing at the Royal British Columbia Museum.

The Bishop Seghers Library at UVic Special Collections

Gathered from booksellers and book fairs in Europe and North America, the library now known as the Seghers Collection was started sometime around 1873 in Victoria by the Belgian priest Charles Seghers. An ambitious and intrepid missionary, Seghers always carried books with him on his extensive travels throughout the Pacific Northwest until his untimely murder in Alaska in 1886. Ninety years later in 1976, having grown considerably in size through additions made by later generations of missionaries and priests, the collection arrived at UVic on permanent loan from the Diocese of Victoria. Following decades spent in relative obscurity in the UVic vaults, the books are gaining renewed attention as one of Canada’s most valuable and significant religious libraries.

The Archives of the Sisters of St. Ann

In 1858, the Sisters of St. Ann arrived in Victoria from St.-Jacques, Quebec, and immediately set up the first of the many schools and hospitals that would have such a defining influence on the development of Vancouver Island and the Pacific Northwest. From the time of their first settlement to the present day, the Sisters have recorded and archived the history of northwest Canada. One hundred and fifty-four years later in 2012, they placed their entire collection of photographs, letters, documents, works of art, vintage textiles and other artifacts into the joint care of the Royal BC Museum and their own archivist. This is the largest private collection and the first religious archive ever donated to the BC Museum. The Sisters are also recognized for their formative contributions to the UVic School of Nursing over many years.

Event highlights

May 28, 2013 The Seghers Collection at UVic Special Collections

2:00–5:00 pm

  • Presentations and papers by Remi De Roo, Erin Fairweather and Zsofia Surjan
  • Lecture by David Kingman
  • A Look at the Books

6:00–8:00 pm, Harry Hickman Building Room 105

  • Keynote address by Dr. Hélène Cazes, UVic Department of French
  • The Bishop’s Books 6:00-7:00 pm
  • Une Bibliothèque de mémoires : le fonds Seghers 7:00-8:00 pm

Wednesday, May 29 The Sisters of St. Ann: Making and Recording History

10:00 am–12:30 pm

  • Morning presentations at St. Ann’s Academy National Historic Site

2:00–6:00 pm

  • Afternoon presentations and Round Table at the Royal BC Museum and Archives

Catholic Legacies in Victoria is free and open to the public. Space is limited and pre-registration is required. For more information or to register, please Contact the CSRS.

A collaboration of The University of Victoria Centre for Studies in Religion and Society, UVic Means Centre for Learning, UVic Faculty of Humanities, St. Ann’s Academy National Historic Site, Sisters of St. Ann and Royal BC Museum and Archives, with support from the UVic 50th Anniversary Committe, UVic Libraries, and the Sisters of St. Ann.

Read more about the Bishop Seghers Collection

Visit the UVic Event page

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Oct 7, 2017

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