Brother Gagnon was a humble Oblate and a role model of unconditional kindness to Niska for more than sixty years. Early on, realizing that Niska was a poor and hungry student in Ottawa, he made sure that fresh bread and milk would discreetly appear at the door of his dorm room almost daily. Niska’s first van to transport his painting supplies and canvases was supplied by brother Gagnon’s community at his insistence. Brother Gagnon made sure it was fitted with a brand new set of tires and battery.
Before passing away in his late eighties, Brother Gagnon gave his pewter crucifix to Niska and Elona. Hanging on a simple leather cord, worn down from years of prayer and meditation, this gift, symbolizing his religious life, was given with loving acceptance.