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Nicholas Viel

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Died 1625, the first victim of apostolic zeal on the shores of the St. Lawrence. After persistently asking for three years, he at length obtained the favour of consecrating his life to the Canadian missions. He arrived at Quebec, 28 June, 1623, accompanied by Brother Sagard, the future historian. After a few days rest he set out for the Huron country, which he reached with great difficulty, taking up his residence in the village of St. Nicolas (Toanche), but did not remain long before joining Father Le Caron stationed at St. Joseph (Carhagouha). Here he began earnestly to study the language, collecting the first elements of a dictionary, and sowing the good seed of faith amidst great difficulties and tribulations. In the spring of 1624 he found himself completely isolated, Fr. Le Caron and Br. Sagard having left for Quebec. The following year he consented to accompany a band of Hurons going down to Quebec, 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-Recollet. 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, enemies of religion, drowned them in hatred of the Faith. If we can rely on the "Martyrologe des Recollets", Father Viel was buried in St. Charles's Chapel, 25 June, 1625.


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