Monday, 28 April 2008

Saint of the Day

I see that today is the feast day of St Peter Chanel. Not, as someone recently remarked, 'the patron Saint of exclusive perfumes' rather the protomartyr of the South Seas.

St Peter Chanel was born in 1803 at Clet in the diocese of Belley, France. He was set on missionary work and in 1831, he joined the newly formed Society of Mary (Marists). In 1836, St Peter was appointed Superior of a small group of missionaries sent to evangelise the inhabitants of the New Hebrides in the Pacific.

St Peter went to the Island of Futuna. He and his companions were at first well received by the pagans and their king who had only recently forbidden canabalism. Although they were intitially very succesful St Peter later came to arouse the anger of the King and three years after his arrival, he was clubbed to death by those he had come to save. Within a few months of his death the entire island was converted to Christianity.

The Church gives us saints to be models and an example for us all in our daily life; they were ordinary people like us, doing ordinary things in an extraordinary way, not that I'm suggesting we all rush off to a distant island where we might come to a rather nasty end!

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