Spanish Flu

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Throughout their history, the Grey Nuns of Montreal have experienced many epidemics: typhus, cholera, smallpox, Spanish flu.

Today, we wish to highlight the work and dedication of the sisters during the Spanish flu epidemic of 1918.

We find the first mentions of the illness in January 1917 in the chronicles of the congregation. In October 1918, the epidemic was already very present in Montreal and the authorities set up emergency hospitals to care for the sick. Faced with the constant increase in cases of contagion, the congregation offered to assist the nursing staff. Fifty Grey Nuns worked in the various hospitals of the city and 77 visited the sick at home. Unfortunately, eleven nuns died of the Spanish flu: six in Montreal, four in St. Boniface (Winnipeg) and one in Saskatoon.

To learn more, we suggest you read the article by historian Magda Fahrni “Elles sont partout…”: Women and the City in Times of Pandemic, Montreal 1918-1920, available at the following link

ASGM L036 Notre Dame Hospital, Montreal, St. Mary’s Hall, n.d.
ASGM L036-3Y3-01 Notre Dame Hospital, Montreal, St. Paul’s Hospital, ca 1885