Peter was one of those young men who unconsciously brought attention to themselves because of their sincere piety. His parish priest, seeing Peter’s devotion to Our Lord, helped him receive a good education so that he could enter the seminary.
During his school years, Peter read accounts and letters about the missionaries working in the Pacific. His heart beat fast—one day, he hoped to be one of those missionaries, caring for the poor souls out in the Pacific and bringing Christ to them.
He was ordained in 1827 and eagerly joined the Society of Mary four years later—then was assigned to work in a seminary. For five years, Peter obediently taught at the seminary, while his mind roamed the islands of the Pacific. He did not grow discouraged, but remained hopeful of obtaining a mission someday.
At last, in 1836, he was sent to the Pacific islands. His charge was the island of Futuna, to which no missionary had gone before.
The chief—who was also the high priest of the island’s religion—received Peter kindly at first. Peter immediately set to work, caring for the sick and the poor. He loved them unconditionally and demonstrated a greater sweetness, patience, and true goodness than the Futunans had ever dreamed of. That is why they called him “the man with the kind heart.”
Over five years, the people grew to love their holy stranger and eventually to request baptism. Peter was overjoyed—but the chief was not. He felt threatened in his position as high priest. He banned Christianity—and then his own son and daughter sought baptism. This was the last straw.
One night, Peter’s little hut was attacked by the chief’s henchmen. They clubbed the priest to death. Peter received the blows with the same sweetness of temper and perfect resignation. His martyrdom inspired most of the island to embrace the Faith.
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