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  Saint Peter Chanel (1803–1841)
Born in 1803, Peter Chanel grew up on his parents’ farm in eastern France.
It looked as if he would spend his whole life there. But since Peter was very intelligent, the local priest enrolled him in school. This is how Peter began a journey that would take him to the other side of the world and martyrdom. Peter entered the local seminary where he caught the desire to be a missionary. After his ordination at the age of 24, he served in a parish where his attention to the people’s physical and spiritual needs convinced them of God’s and the Church’s love for them.
Still, he wanted to be a missionary so he joined a new congregation of priests, the Marists or Society of Mary, who had dedicated themselves to missionary work. Peter’s hopes were dashed, however, when the Marists assigned him to teach in their seminary for  ve years.
April 28
Saints of the Season Spring 2018
 At last, his chance to be a missionary came. The Marists were assigned to work
in the islands of the southwest Paci c Ocean, and Peter was allowed to go. He and his companions sailed from France to Chile and then westward to the islands. Peter went with two laymen to the island of Futuna, which lies about 2,800 miles southwest of Hawaii. There he found people who had only recently given up the practice of cannibalism. Their language was di cult, but Peter persisted until he was able to preach the Good News of Jesus to the natives of Futuna in their own language. Numerous baptisms followed.
The king of Futuna, who up to now had been friendly, grew worried that his own authority and in uence with his people were decreasing as the missionaries were succeeding. When the king’s own son asked to be baptized, his family was outraged. The king ordered the brutal execution of Peter. As he was clubbed to death, it is said that Peter cried, “I am happy to die.”
Peter’s hard work did not die with him. Within two years, the entire population of the island had become baptized Christians. Peter was canonized in 1954.
       A Service of
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