Joseph Poncet

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Joseph Anthony de la Rivière Poncet (b. at Paris, 17 May 1610; d. at Martinique, 18 June 1675) was a French Jesuit missionary to Canada.


He entered the Jesuit novitiate in Paris at nineteen, as a student in rhetoric and philosophy. He pursued his studies at Clermont, Rome, and Rouen, and taught at Orléans (1631-4).

In 1638 he met Madame de la Pettrie and accompanied her and Marie de l'Incarnation to Canada in the following year. He was sent immediately to the Huron mission.

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 domainHerbermann, 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.