Nothing stops Gilles Kègle

News 24 December, 2017
  • Arnaud Koenig-Soutière

    Sunday, 24 dec 2017 00:00

    Sunday, 24 dec 2017 00:00

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    In spite of the storm that descended on Quebec, on Saturday, and after allowing to its quarantine of volunteers leaving for the Christmas break, nothing was going to prevent the indefatigable Gilles Kègle to deliver, alone and on foot, his last Christmas baskets to the needy of Saint-Roch.

    A few days of Christmas, The Journal has accompanied this former nursing assistant for part of his tour.

    Every morning, he leaves the house that bears his name, on the street of the Bridge, with sixty key “people in danger” and a backpack.

    “The key is to you when it does not respond. These are people who have heart and respiratory problems, he says. My bag, this is for devices, for pressure, blood glucose, the most important key. It is always necessary that I carry it with me. “

    Typical day ?

    Mr. Kègle alongside disease and poverty up close. Saturday morning was like the others ? Nothing abnormal, according to him, while his day started by being threaten of the fist by a man.

    “I have already had a revolver in front of me, I have already been stabbed. One is accustomed to all, ” he says.

    Early in the morning, he headed to the Carrefour familial des personnes handicapées, a few steps from home.

    “As much as I do care pre-and postoperative, as much as I give baths, go down the garbage “, he notes among the “32 tasks” performed by its volunteers and him.

    A few blocks away, he then went to distribute bags of groceries to a full floor of an apartment building, where a resident of people with mental health problems.

    Gilles Kègle continues its path, in the direction of Marie-Ange, a lady of ” 98 years and six months “, she said proudly, which is one of the 400 beneficiaries of the Maison Gilles-Kègle. A third visit with the lady in this day of storm, while a fourth will follow in the evening for taking out the trash.

    “Oh yes, it is useful. It can’t happen, ” exclaims the one which is about the centenary, and receives up to six visits on a daily basis.

    Death in the face

    The next stop of his tour is raising concerns. No news of Honoré, a man with heart problems, Gilles Kègle afraid to find him dead in his bed. “It’s been at least 200 people that I find dead in their bed,” he says.

    Arrived at home, the nurse of the street hits, a query that remains unanswered. He grabs one of his many keys and entering the apartment. Still nothing. He runs to the bedroom, where he finally gets a response.

    “I like better to see it alive than dead “, said, relieved, the nurse of the street.

    And the day continues for the indefatigable septuagenarian.

    “I want to go to the end of my strength every day. At times, I reel when it gets to the evening. “

    It provides care and support into the evening, after which he returned home, addressing the dozens of letters he receives every day.

    The end of the day arrival, the time of reward has come for Mr. Kègle.

    A beer and two cigarettes. Nothing more to satisfy that after another day to dedicate his life to his next.


    Away from loved ones for 40 years

    “Set aside” by his own family 40 years ago, it is from its beneficiaries, the poorest and Gilles Kègle will spend Christmas.

    “The day of Christmas is special. There are gifts for everyone. It means a quarantine of the people I’m visiting on the morning of 25, ” says the 75 year old male.

    Again this year, it is far away from his family that he will spend the Holidays. His dedication to the poor has angered his relatives, according to him, and would have led them to move away.

    “My family thought I was troubled and they put me aside. It’s been 40 years, ” he says.

    He will take advantage, therefore, once again, to do what he prefers, either to give of his time to its beneficiaries.

    “Those that I will go see at Christmas, these are the most vulnerable, alone, abandoned… people who don’t even want to open the tv or the radio to hear the music of Christmas. It écœure, it makes them sad and nostalgic, ” explains Mr. Kègle.


    This is after having spent six years in a monastery, Gilles Kègle decided to devote himself entirely to people in need. He has taken this decision after it was refused to take part in a humanitarian mission abroad, because of his state of health.

    “I said to myself that I would rather be a missionary at home, in my country,” he explains.

    This year marks his fiftieth year of involvement. During this period, he has accompanied hundreds of people in their last moments.

    “The more one gives, the more one is attached. But we can detach very fast also when they die, because there are others who are waiting for us “, philosopher the seventy-year-old.