Spanish Flu: Providing Care During a Pandemic

Caring for the poor at a time when many diseases could spread rapidly and turn into epidemics carried was highly risky for nuns. Tuberculosis, for example, was one of the most devastating infections at the turn of the 20th century. Self-sacrifice took on a whole new meaning for nuns who, while trying to relieve sick people’s suffering, sometimes lost their own lives. At the Hôtel-Dieu de Quebec alone, there were three nuns in 1896, six in 1900 and two in 1901 to succumb to the disease. However, the influenza of 1918, known as “Spanish Flu,” took the Augustinians of Québec City by surprise.

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