Spanish Influenza Epidemic


Editorial in the Morrisburg Leader from 1918 or 1919 regarding the Spanish Influenza Epidemic:

During the past fortnight two Sisters of Charity have been nursing the sick in Morrisburg. Most of our citizens do not know who these Sisters are, or whence they came. We know nothing about them except that they are here, quietly and unassumingly performing a great work of mercy; a task which no one in this vicinity could be persuaded, or enticed, or bribed to undertake…

We are informed that the Sisters who are here are not trained nurses; they hold no professional parchments; they were never attached to the staff of any hospital. They are simply teachers from the Separate School in Prescott. As soon as their school closed, these teachers held themselves in readiness for other duties, whenever and wherever their services might be required. The first call for aid came from Morrisburg. The response was immediate and the next train brought us two Sisters…

The teaching Sisters are still teaching even while attending the sick. In the school room they teach children; in the home of sorrow, at the death-bed of the suffering, they are teaching us grown-ups — holding up before us the ideal of unselfish devotion to others. Without any hope or thought of human reward, these devoted women cheerfully consume a whole life in painful and laborious toil; without a murmur, and apparently without any effort, at a moment’s notice they are ready to engage in perilous acts of boundless self-denial from which others recoil with disgust and alarm. The welcome visit of these two strangely-clad silent Sisters of Charity, their benign mission, their splendid work should not be soon forgotten, and should not be without its salutary effect on the whole community. Who are these Sisters? What are their names? Their real names are among the many things the renunciation of which was involved in their dedication to God’s service. They are known in religion as SISTER MARY CHARLES and SISTER MARY URSULA, and they are members of the staff of St. Mark’s School, Prescott, Ontario.

Left: Sr. Mary Ursula Byrne was the Principal of St. Mark’s School, Prescott in 1919.
Right: Sr. Mary Charles Poulin was the Superior of St. Mark’s Convent, Prescott in 1919.