Sisters of St. Ann Complete their Mission at Little Flower Academy

This summer, the final act of passing assets and responsibilities from the Sisters of St. Ann to the charitable Jane Rowan Society, which operates Little Flower Academy, was completed when canonical sponsorship for Little Flower Academy was transferred from the Sisters of St. Ann to the newly formed canonical organization, known as the Sisters of Saint Ann, Little Flower Academy Stewardship (LFA Stewardship).
Since LFA’s beginning, its canonical sponsor has been the Sisters of St. Ann. As the Sisters of St. Ann wind down their operations in BC, Little Flower Academy needed to be sponsored by a recognized canonical organization to remain a Catholic institution.
Working closely with the Archbishop of Vancouver, the Sisters of St. Ann and the Jane Rowan Society developed the framework for the LFA Stewardship and the new church organization was formally established by Archbishop J. Michael Miller, CSB on July 26, 2016. July 26th is fittingly the Feast Day of St. Anne.
This final act of transfer coincides with the 90th year of operating Little Flower Academy as a Catholic school in Vancouver. Anniversary celebrations and acknowledgements will continue throughout the school year, including a large LFA community celebration on September 8th at Little Flower, which will include students, parents, alumnae, past parents, trustees and, of course, several Sisters of St. Ann.
Sister Marie Zarowny, SSA, has also announced that, “with the 90th Anniversary and the completion of the Sisters’ formal involvement in the school, I am pleased to announce that we recently forgave a debt of $2.34 million owed to the Sisters by Little Flower Academy. As well, we have established a $150,000 endowment to assist with continuing to educate the Members of LFA Stewardship and Members and Directors of the Jane Rowan Society to the Mission of the school.”
The immensely generous gift of nearly $2.5 million is the largest in the history of the school. As the school develops a strategic plan for the coming years from a place of financial security, the Sisters of St. Ann have enabled a bold vision for continuing their legacy of exceptional Catholic girls’ education, consistent with the reputation developed over the past 90 years.
Though extraordinary to LFA, the gift is only part of the generosity the Sisters of St. Ann have bestowed on the BC community, with Sr. Zarowny explaining to the Vancouver Sun in March that, “Our funds are not our own. Our funds are for our mission.” Little Flower Academy is deeply grateful and profoundly aware of the extraordinary legacy of the Sisters of St. Ann that we continue into the future.

Background on Little Flower Academy History

The Sisters of St. Ann bought the land that Little Flower Academy sits on in 1903 for the purpose of establishing a boarding school for girls. However, at the request of the Archbishop, the Sisters resources were used elsewhere as they responded to other educational needs in Vancouver. In the minds of the Sisters, the dream for a girls’ school on the site lived on, which was finally realized in 1927. They named Little Flower Academy after prayers to St. Thérèse of Lisieux (popularly known as “The Little Flower of Jesus”) were answered.
From 1927 through to 1994, the Sisters imprinted the school through management, education leadership, teaching, administration and, of course, through capital investment. From Little Flower Academy’s establishment, it offered girls a Catholic elementary and high school education until the early 1980s (boys were briefly accepted into the early primary years in the first years of LFA’s operation). Under the direction of Principal Sr. Eileen Kelly, SSA, the school became solely a high school in the mid-1980s. In 1992, the Sisters made a significant capital investment to develop a new, dedicated Science wing in response to the changing opportunities for women in society.

In 1994, the Sisters of St. Ann established a separate society, the Jane Rowan Society, which was to be responsible for the operation of school. The Sisters of St. Ann, however, retained significant legal and canonical (church) authority and influence.

In 2004, the Jane Rowan Society hired their first lay Principal, Marcelle DeFreitas, to lead the school. The appointment of lay leadership coincided with the declining number of Sisters involved in the day-to-day teaching at the school, as well as the continued transfer of responsibilities to the Jane Rowan Society. The Jane Rowan Society spear-headed the fundraising and administration of the 2007 campus transformation, which included the build of a new gym, art room, library, dining hall and administration offices at the school. The last active, teaching Sister of St. Ann retired in 2009.

In 2011, the Little Flower Academy Foundation was formed and registered with the Canada Revenue Agency to govern and administer the growing endowment fund. That same year, our current Principal and LFA alumna Diane (Oddy) Little ’88, was appointed.

In 2016, the Sisters of St. Ann completed the process of transferring all of the assets and responsibilities of Little Flower Academy to the charitable Jane Rowan Society. The Sisters of St. Ann passed canonical sponsorship of LFA to the newly formed LFA Stewardship and gifted the school the entire outstanding debt owed to them by the Jane Rowan Society, as well as forming an endowment to foster leadership.

Little Flower Academy has developed a reputation for educational excellence over the past decades. While measurable educational outcomes at LFA continue to be among the best of any school in British Columbia, the school remains focused on delivering on its mission, vision and core values of spirituality, integrity, respect, service, excellence and simplicity, while being as widely accessible as is possible.


School Information

4195 Alexandra Street, Vancouver, BC V6J 4C6
Tel: 604-738-9016
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