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Mar132010

1918 - "Black Flu and Armistice"

On January 8 our students took up their studies again with renewed vigor.  There were 80 boarders and 160 day pupils. After Vespers on the eve of the Purification our beloved Sr. M. Immaculata Wilman died a most edifying death.  She had recently come to O’Neill to be restored to health.  R.I.P.

From the third to the seventh of February retreat was held for the students and former pupils. It was con­ducted by Reverend Father Megayney, S. J. All expressed themselves as highly satisfied with it.

In the beginning of April, Mother Leonarda arrived for visitation. Six years had elapsed since her last visit and everyone was looking forward to a renewal with great expectation.

The graduates of this year made the city people happy by presenting the drama, "Jeanne d'Arc." It was taken from the writings of Msgr. Hugh Benson and drew great applause from the audience. Thirty little ones had the great happi­ness of approaching the Holy Table for the first time. It is most edifying to see the pupils, large and small, receiv­ing Holy Communion daily.

Commencement was held on June 13, and 18 young ladies who had passed the teachers' examinations received their diplomas and certificates. Immediately after the close, trunks and suit cases were packed with the most necessary paraphernalia, and on June 19, 24 of our Sisters from various convents had assembled in Omaha to attend the Summer Session at Creighton. Seven of them received degrees, B. A. and B. S.—Sr. Miriam, Sr. Justine, Sr. Remegia, Mother Leonie, Sr. Winifred, Sr. Alacoque, and Sr. Ludmilla.  When they returned to O'Neill retreat was given for the Sisters by Reverend Father Betten, S. J.

In September school reopened with 75 boarders. Death visited us again and took our dear Sister Xaveria Kertz on September 24. She had endured a long hard siege of suffer­ing. R. I. P.

Owing to the long years of the World War and transpor­tation of soldier to and from it, also wounded soldiers, Spanish Influenza was carried to this country and the epi­demic spread rapidly. It raged at first in the coast cities, forts and barracks of the soldiers, and finally in all the cities and villages of the land. Churches, schools, theatres, and other public places were closed, also here in O'Neill. 24 of our day pupils became boarders and we continued our school for them. On Sundays we had adoration of the Bl. Sacrament all day, Thursdays, Holy Hour; hence, there was no vacation for the children nor the Sisters and the same program was continued through what should have been our Christmas vacation. Sacrifices had to be made on both sides. Visits were not permitted nor asked for. Thanks to the goodness of God and Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Patroness of our house, and also to St. Roch, we were wonderfully preserved from the Black Flu as it is called here. Our city, too, had only, a few cases. More than a dozen times we sang our grateful Te Deum. On November 11 we rejoiced to hear the long desired news which was flashed over the length and breadth of our country that an Armistice had been signed, the end of the terrible World War. Deo Gratias.

On December 8 candidates were received into the Sodality of the Blessed Virgin. The beautiful feast of Christmas was celebrated most solemnly. On Christmas Eve, the pupils received their presents for no one was permitted to go home, owing to the fact that the epidemic was still preva­lent in many towns and localities. They were perfectly resigned and satisfied and even remarked that they had never had such a happy Christmas celebration in all their lives. The following Sisters were transferred during the year: Sr. Jolenta, Sr. Frederick, and Sr. Flora and were replaced by Sr. Malenia, Sr. Adelaide, and Sr. Martina. Sr. Adelaide had to leave us on December 31.

At St. Vincent's, Columbus, two Sisters had died of flu and Sr. Adelaide was called by telegraph to replace one of them, so sacrifices had to be made on both sides.

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