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History General

People of Faith

The Story of Hôtel-Dieu Grace Hospital 1888 to 2013

by (author) Marty Gervais

Black Moss Press
Initial publish date
Jun 2015
General, History, General
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Jun 2015
    List Price

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With this book, award-winning journalist and author Marty Gervais dips into the diaries, private letters and documents left behind by the nuns who founded Windsor, Ontario's Hôtel-Dieu Hospital. He emerges with stories that will surprise you. Gervais recalls the tough 19th century days when the hospital nuns went begging in the streets of Windsor to survive, the visits by whisky merchant Hiram Walker and the anti-French bishop of London, Ontario who threatened to send the nuns back to Montreal. He delves into tales of the diseases that gripped the community, like typhoid, smallpox, polio and the Spanish Flu that took more lives than the First World War. He chronicles tales of devastation, like deadly gas explosions and the 1946 tornado that ripped through the city. There are amusing tales, too, like the sisters waking up at dawn-not for prayer-but to watch the televised royal wedding of Britain's Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer. The women who ran this hospital were far ahead of their time. As Luann Kapasi, Senior Communications Officer for Hôtel-Dieu, says these first five francophone sisters "made history" in Windsor when they purchased six vacant lots on Ouellette Avenue as the chosen site for the city's first hospital. She writes: "They were here less than a month when construction began on October 14, 1888, to build a three-storey hospital with a capacity of 100 beds. That was 125 years ago. As the sisters saw the health care needs of the community change over the years, they endeavored to meet those needs-much the same as the Boards of Hôtel-Dieu Grace and Windsor Regional Hospital are doing today."

About the author

Marty Gervais was appointed Windsor's first Poet Laureate in 2011. Gervais has written more than a dozen books of poetry, as well as two plays and a novel. He is an award—winning journalist, poet, photographer and editor. In 1998, he won Toronto's prestigious Harbourfront Festival Prize for his contributions to Canadian letters and to emerging writers. He has won more than two dozen journalism awards for his work with the Windsor Star where he was best known for his "My Town" column. As a poet, Gervais was awarded the Milton Acorn People's Poetry Award in 1996 for his book Tearing Into A Summer Day. That same book was also awarded the City of Windsor Mayor's Award for literature. Gervais won the same award again in 2003 for To Be Now: Selected Poems. He received the Queen's Jubilee Medal in 2012.

Marty Gervais' profile page

Other titles by Marty Gervais