In the Catholic church where I grew up, we were encouraged to celebrate All Saints Day and dress up as our favorite saints at church instead.
When I was ten, though, some of the kids got really
creative and gory with the martyrs, so that was the last year of that.
Story of Peter Louis Mary Chanel, Priest wrote:
Peter Chanel was a model pupil, model vicar, model parish priest, and model missionary. He began life as a shepherd to his father's sheep. The Abbé Trompier of the parish of Cras, however, recognized the intelligence and devoutness of the young boy and obtained permission to have Peter attend the small school he had started. Peter performed well and went on to the seminary.
After his ordination in 1827, he was given the parish of Crozet, which had earned a bad reputation. Over three years, his attendance to the sick gained the confidence of the parishioners and brought about a spiritual revival.
In 1831, wishing to become a missionary, the peasant's son was one of the first to join the missionary Society of Mary which was formed at Lyons, France, in 1822, but taught another five years in the seminary of Belley. In 1836, the Marists received papal approval, and Peter was sent with a small band of missionaries to New Hebrides in the Pacific. With a lay-brother and an English layman, Thomas Boog, Peter went to the Islands of Futuna, under French sovereignty near Fiji, where cannibalism had only recently been forbidden by the local ruler, Niuliki.
The missionaries gained the confidence of the people by attending the sick, learning the language, and beginning to teach. The chieftain Niuliki became jealous of their influence, however, and was further angered when his own son said he wished to be baptized. Three years after his arrival, when his companions were away, Peter was attacked by a band of warriors who killed him with a club and cut up his body with their hatchets.
His martyrdom served his cause, however, for within a few months the island was Christianized. When called upon to justify his conversion, one of Chanel's catechumens had said of him, "He loves us. He does what he teaches. He forgives his enemies. His teaching is good."
Because he was the first martyr of the South Seas, Peter Chanel is the patron of Oceania.
Born at Cluet, near Belley, France, in 1803; died on Futuna, Oceania, in April 28, 1841; canonized in 1954.