Born: Vieugy (Haute-Savoie), June 16, 1798.
Took the habit: N.-D. de l’Osier, October 22, 1847.
Vows: Marseille, November 1, 1849 (No. 267).
Died: New Westminster, British Colombia, January 9, 1880.
Gaspard Janin was born on June 16, 1798 in Saint-Martin, in the municipality of Vieugy, diocese of Annecy. At first he was a farmer. Then he learned the trades of carriage maker, mason, tinsmith, and was very useful for his neighbours. He did military service from 1818 to 1829. He was a teacher and catechist in his in the municipality of Vieugy before and after his military service. He entered the novitiate of Notre-Dame de l’Osier on October 22, 1847, took vows in 1848 and made his final profession on November 1, 1849.
For a few months he lived in Notre-Dame de l’Osier and Parménie. Then he left for the missions in Oregon in 1849 and arrived in Olympia, Washington State, in 1850. In 1852 he was sent to the mission in Yakima where he stayed a short while before going to the mission of Saint-Anne among the Cayuse Amerindians of Walla Walla valley. In 1854 he was in Ahtanum. He returned once again among the Cayuses in the spring of 1855, and then went back to the Saint-Joseph mission (Ahtanum) in 1856. Later he was in the residence of Esquimalt, in Vancouver Island (1859-1860), where he learned the Chinook language. He composed hymns, prayers and a little dictionary in that language.
In 1860 he spent some time in Fort Hope, British Colombia and then for a while he worked on the building of Saint-Louis college, New Westminster and accompanied Bishop Louis D’Herbomez, Vicar apostolic of British Colombia, to do manual work in the missions which the bishop established everywhere. He came to Port Rupert in 1873-1874 and lived mainly in the mission at Mission City.
He dies in New Westminster, British Colombia, on January 9, 1880. He is buried in the Oblate cemetery on that town. As he got older, poor health prevented him from working as he was accustomed to do and that was very painful for him. In 1866, Father Joseph Fabre wrote him a very encouraging letter, which the Brother kept as a treasure. Among other things that letter says: “I know all that you have done and all that you have suffered for our dear missions of the Pacific. You have not spared yourself in anything and many times you have endangered your life… you have become one of the most meritorious members of our little family…. Do not think that you have become useless for the Congregation …; are you not continuing to give the good example that you have always given to our brothers. You will still do much good and you will prepare for a good death… Have courage, my dear Brother, courage and perseverance.”
and Gaston Carrière, o.m.i.