St. Peter Chanel was born July 12, 1803, in France to a peasant family. He was a good student and was ordained at age 24. He joined the Society of Mary (Marists) in 1831 and spent five years teaching at a seminary. In 1836, he led a group of missionaries to New Hebrides in the Pacific. St. Peter Chanel learned the language and began to spread Christianity in the area. Angered that his son wanted to be baptized and jealous of the missionary, a local king had St. Peter Chanel clubbed to death on April 28, 1841. Five months later, the people on the island were entirely converted to Christianity. St. Peter Chanel was the first martyr in Oceania and is patron saint of the area.