|Father Nicolas Viel, O.M.R.|
|Born||Coutances, Normandy, France|
|Died||June 25, 1625
Sault-au-Récollet, Quebec, Canada
Cause of death
|June 28, 1625|
|Quebec City, Quebec, Canada|
|Occupation||Franciscan friar and missionary|
|Home town||Coutances, Normandy, France|
Among the first missionaries sent by France to its colony, Viel traveled to Huron territory, arriving there with fellow Recollect Father Joseph Le Caron in 1623. He was studying the language and collecting material to add to Le Caron’s dictionary.
After almost two years, in May 1625 Viel decided to return to Quebec. After a long period of travel, he was murdered by the three Indian companions in his canoe. A young man called Ahuntsic, who was following in another canoe, witnessed the crime, and suffered the same fate. The event took place near present day Sault-au-Récollet and was well witnessed and recorded. The friar's body was recovered from the water a few days later and buried at Quebec City.
While there is no official position by the Catholic Church on this matter, all records would indicate that Father Viel was the first martyr for his faith in Canada. The murder was likely was caused by a deep dislike of the Catholic teachings and their messenger.
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