Nicolas Viel

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Father Nicolas Viel, O.M.R.
Nicolas Viel.JPG
Born Coutances, Normandy, France
Died June 25, 1625
Sault-au-Récollet, Quebec, Canada
Cause of death
Murder
Body discovered
June 28, 1625
Resting place
Quebec City, Quebec, Canada
Nationality French
Ethnicity French
Citizenship French
Occupation Franciscan friar and missionary
Home town Coutances, Normandy, France
Religion Roman Catholic

Father Nicolas Viel, O.M.R., (died 25 June 1625) was a French Recollect missionary to the Hurons from 1623 to 1625.

Biography[edit]

Cross in honour of Nicolas Viel and Ahuntsic (Missionary) at Parc de l'Île-de-la-Visitation

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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