1803: Saint Peter Chanel Died a Martyr’s Death on the Island of Futuna

1803: Saint Peter Chanel Died a Martyr’s Death on the Island of Futuna
Photo Credit To Wikipedia Commos/the Christian Cross (Cross in Valle de los Caídos near Madrid)

Story Highlights

  • Historical event
  • 12 July 1803
  • St. Peter Chanel baptised some residents of the island of Futuna in the Pacific Ocean. They converted to Christianity. King Niuliki sent his warrior “to resolve the problem”, and he killed St. Peter Chanel.

This day in 1803 marked the birth of St. Peter Chanel, who was a Catholic missionary on the island of Futuna in the Pacific Ocean.

He traveled from his native France to the island of Futuna, located a few hundred kilometers from Fiji.

Futuna is located near the International Date Line, which means it is almost on the opposite side of the world from France.

Sv. Peter Chanel was born in the hamlet of La Potière near Cuet in the area of Belley (the historical area of Burgundy).

When he was born, France was ruled by Napoleon Bonaparte. St. Peter Chanel was ordained in 1827. Although he wanted to become a missionary, he had served as priest in the French parish near the France-Switzerland border for three years.

At the age of 28 years, he joined the Marists, a Roman Catholic religious order dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Many members of this order became missionaries.

In 1836, St. Peter Chanel, his Marist brothers and Bishop Jean Baptiste Pompallier (the first bishop of the city of Auckland, New Zealand) sailed to the Islands of Polynesia in the Pacific Ocean.

St. Peter Chanel settled on the island of Futuna. In the beginning, he had a good relationship with the local king (chief), and started to learn the local language.

St. Peter Chanel baptised some residents of the island of Futuna in the Pacific Ocean. They converted to Christianity.

Namely, King Niuliki’s son wanted to receive baptism, and Niuliki sent his warriors “to resolve the problem”. The warriors killed St. Peter Chanel.

After that, most of the inhabitants of the island of Futuna converted to Catholicism, including the mentioned warriors.

St. Peter Chanel, who died a martyr’s death, was beatified by Pope Leo XIII in 1889, and canonized by Pope Venerable Pius XII in 1954.

 

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