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In 1645 he founded an Algonquin mission on the Island of St. Mary in the Michilimackinac area. After returning to Quebec he was captured by the Iroquois; he was being tortured when a rescue party arrived in time to save his life. His companion, Mathurin Franchelot, was burned at the stake.
In 1657, as he became involved in ecclesiastical disputes, he was sent back to France. He held the position of French penitentiary at Loreto, and was later sent to the Island of Martinique, where he died.
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Joseph Anthony de la Rivière Poncet". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton. The entry cites:
- Jesuit Relations, ed. Thwaites (73 vols., Cleveland, 1896–1901);
- Campbell, Pioneer Priests of North America, I (New York, 1909), 61-74.