Pierre-Louis-Marie was born at Cuet, Diocese of Belley, France. He was ordained priest in 1827 and engaged in the parochial ministry for a few years, but intrigued by the work of missionaries in far-away lands, he resolved to devote his life to the Apostolate. In 1831 he joined the Society of Mary (Marist), and in 1836 he embarked for Oceania.

He was assigned by his bishop to the Island of Futuna and landed in November 1837. No Christian missionary had ever set foot there, and the difficulties Peter encountered amidst those tribes he found there were almost incredible. Nevertheless, he was beginning to see the results of his efforts, when Niuluki, king and also pontiff of the island, already jealous of the progress of the new religion, became exasperated by the conversion of his son and daughter.

At Niuluki’s instigation, one of the ministers organized some of the enemies of Christianity and took the good priest as prisoner. Pierre was assassinated without uttering a word of complaint. Through his death, however, the venerable martyr obtained what he had so ardently desired and earnestly worked for, the conversion of Futuna.

In 1842, two Marist missionaries resumed his work. Peter was declared Venerable by Pius IX in 1857 and beatified by Leo XIII on 17 November 1889.

Adapted by A.J. Valentini from: Freri, J. (1917). Our Patron-St. Peter Chanel, priest and martyr. St. Peter Chanel.