IN April 1841 a French priest was murdered in the prime of his life on the island of Futuna. Pierre Louis Marie Chanel preached a message of lovå e, peace and obedience as he attempted to spread Christianity in a land half a world away from the place of his birth.
As Chanel preached his message and started to convert the native population, he became a threat to the ruling warlords and traditional priests. The biggest threat the cleric posed, however, was that he lives what he preached. Chanel was an example of walking the talk in a land where the rulers brooked no question of their sometimes violent authority and unreasonable demands.
So much was he respected in a land controlled at the time by warlords and traditional priests that the Frenchman became a threat to King Niuliki who demanded to know why his people chose to follow the new religion and its missionary. The response came from none other than Meitala, his son who said Chanel’s message was not only good but that the priest was true to what he preached.
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