WHO WAS PIERRE CHANEL?
Pierre Chanel (Peter in English) was a French Catholic priest who was born in the hamlet of La Potière, France in 1803. Peter Chanel was a member of the Society of Mary (Marists) and was sent as a missionary to Oceania. He arrived on the island of Futuna in November 1837. After he died in April 1841, Peter Chanel was declared a martyr and beatified in 1889. He was canonized on 12 June 1954 by Pope Pius XII. Chanel is recognised as the protomartyr and patron saint of Oceania. His feast day is 28 April, which is a public holiday in Wallis and Futuna. St Peter Chanel Day is celebrated at our school on the first Friday of term two.
PRAYER TO ST PETER CHANEL
St Peter Chanel, you left your homeland to proclaim Jesus, Saviour of the world, to the peoples of Oceania. Guided by the Spirit of God, who is the strength of the gentle, you bore witness to love, even laying down your life. Grant that, like you, we may live our daily life in peace, in joy, and in fraternal love. May your prayer and example call forth from our midst many workers for the Gospel so that God’s Kingdom may reach to the ends of the earth. Amen.
THE SOCIETY OF MARY
Marists strive to do God’s will similar to the way Mary, the mother of Jesus, did; to live and work in the Church today following the model of Mary at the beginnings of the Church. Today Marists are scattered to the four corners of the world but are united in one heart and mind under the patronage of the Mother of God. Like our founder, John Claude Colin and his Marist companions, we respond to the desire of Mary, expressed in the inspiration: “I supported the Church as it came to birth; I shall do so again at the end of time.” We wish to carry out this “work of Mary”, making our own her love and concern for the Church. Sharing her zeal for the Church’s mission, we try to work in her style, as it were “hidden and unknown” – an unobtrusive presence no less zealous and engaged.
Inspired by the spirit of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Marists look to the example of the early Church. There they see a small group of disciples, united in love, moved by prayer, eager to spread the Good News, and inspired by the presence of Mary in their midst. When the early Marists spoke of the enterprise in which they were engaged they often used the term “the work of Mary”. Mary has a special interest in bringing the women and men of our time into contact with Jesus Christ her son. Marists feel called to share in this effective concern of Mary and to be drawn into her family to work on her behalf. Marists have this missionary spirit which at heart is open to all people. It excludes nobody and would like to see a brotherhood and sisterhood of all united in Christ.