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 in the company of a band of Hurons, with the intention of making a few days retreat and then returning to his missions. It is known that he never reached Quebec, but was drowned in the last chute of the Riviere des Praiiries, which from that time bears the name of Sault-au-Récollet. The neophyte Auhaitsique, whom he had instructed and baptized, met with the same fate. It was learned later that this was not an accident; but that a few Hurons caused the drowning.Sagard and Le Clercq give full accounts of Father Viel's missionary work, and of his tragic death. According to the "Martyrologe des Recollets", Father Viel was buried in St. Charles's Chapel, Quebec City, 25 June 1625.