Also, as history’s most fervent supporters will recall, an even earlier event caused the closure of all public places in Montreal from October 13 to November 3, 1918.
The Spanish flu struck and, in Montreal alone, more than 3,000 people died from it.
The Oratory was doubly affected, both by the closure of the shrine and then by the death of its first rector, Father Georges-Auguste Dion, CSC, on October 8 at the age of 66.
Even if we cannot attribute his death with certainty to the Spanish flu, he was still a victim of it since two days before, the Directors of the Hygiene Office forbade the Oratory to welcome the crowds.
Thus, the funeral was held behind closed doors with members of the clergy, including Archbishop Bruchési, then Archbishop of Montreal.
And as proof that deception in times of crisis is a thing of the past, the 1918 issue of L’Oratoire magazine warned against a company that sold a remedy made by a certain Father André!