Influenza Strikes Procopius

[Dorm inside Ben Hall]

[Dorm inside Benedictine Hall], c. 1920, J-345 (Source: Benedictine University Archives)

A Campus Epidemic

St. Procopius College did not escape the influenza epidemic. At least 40 Procopians fell ill with the disease and several died, including one monk. The Studentsky Listy reported these casualties. 

The flu was highly contagious, and close quarters like those in this dormitory at Benedictine Hall did not help.


[40 of "our boys" sick with flu]

[40 boys sick with flu], Studentsky Listy March 1919 (Source: Benedictine University Archives)

St. Procopius was comparatively lucky, with only 40 of its students sent to the hospital for flu treatment. This is approximately 20% of the student population. Worldwide, roughly 33% of the population was affected.

[A Group of Fathers, '20]

[Six monks], J-345 (Source: Benedictine University Archives)

As the flu targeted young healthy people, the residents of St. Procopius Abbey were subject to infection as well. Five monks were sick, and one died from the flu.

(Source: St. Procopius Abbey Archives)

[Pavlik and Reidy died from flu]

[Deaths of two students], Studentsky Listy November 1918 (Source: Benedictine University Archives)

The deaths of two students are reported here.

Excerpt: "We regret to announce the sad news of the death of Jaraslov Pavlik, who was a high school student here during the past two years...He was sick only a week;  the Spanish Influenza and pneumonia ended his youthful career.  His grief-stricken mother asks for the prayers of his college-mates...Another victim of the epidemic was Robert Reidy...'Bob's' death on Oct. 21, was an unexpected one, and came as a shock to all of his friends.  He was only 19 years old."

St. Procopius was a tight-knit community and mourned deeply the loss of fellow students.

[Kushner dies from flu]

[Kushner dies from flu] Studentsky Listy December 1918 (Source: Benedictine University Archives)

Alumnus John Kushner was another victim of the flu. 


[Wagner dies from the flu]

[Wagner dies from the flu], Studentsky Listy February 1919 (Source: Benedictine University Archives)

Excerpt: "'My cousin, Vaclav Wagner, who attended your college about 15 years ago...died at his home here on October 10th...leaving a wife and three small children to mourn his loss...He was 35 years of age."

As most flu victims were healthy young people, many people were left widowed, without a parent, or orphaned.