Testimony of a spring flood

SNJM Memory Lane Des traces encore visibles…

Saint-Antoine Creek sometimes took on the appearance of a huge torrent during spring floods. Relive crucial moments of one of the most important floods of this creek which caused a lot of fear and emotion on April 1, 1913. The SNJM chronicler of the time tells…

We are victims of the flood, an event that had not happened for several years. At half past two this morning, Sister Marie Emmanuel was the first to hear the splashing of water in our parterre. “Here we are,” she said, giving the alarm to Sister Superior. In an instant, all the sisters were at the windows; the water was rising visibly; it was not April Fool’s Day, it was really a flood! The stream of St. Anthony overflows; the water enters through the window wells; the cellars are already filled with water.

The cries heard from outside in the depths of the night are such as to move us even more. One of our neighbors, Mrs. Garceau, a former student of our boarding school, arrived in a rowboat, with two children in her arms; the water having risen considerably in her house, she came to take refuge here. Two children remained in the house, on the second floor; the poor worried mother believed them to be in danger and let out heart-rending cries. It was only after an hour that the children – a little girl of four and a little boy of two – were brought back to the desolate mother. What a joy for both sides to be reunited after such anguish!

The Lasnier family, also forced to leave their home, found hospitality in our convent. Four o’clock; the water is now rising on the side of the boarding school: it is more and more worrying. The furnaces are extinguished: it is cold and damp in our house. Five o’clock; we go to the chapel and say the prayer with a fervor easy to guess. M. l’abbé Laporte, our chaplain, comes by boat to our house: we are happy to have the holy mass. Seven o’clock; we have breakfast; the refectories are flooded; we are having a snack in the small courtyard and the music room: we lack appetite; everything is cold and damp.

For two days, the water seems stationary; the ice piled up here and there, some buildings carried away by the current, the waves grazing the houses offer a sinister spectacle. People go around in boats, transporting provisions, taking photographs.