Today’s Saint

Daily Journey with the Saints

April 28 | Embrace It All

Saint Peter Chanel

A.D. 1803–1841

We're allergic to suffering in our culture.

We try to avoid any type of suffering we can, numb ourselves to it, and take pills even for minor pain. The reality is that suffering is a natural part of life. How we approach that suffering says an enormous amount about what we actually believe.

In the Gospel, Jesus presents suffering as a path to Salvation, as a path to personal development, as a path to greater life. But our culture doesn't see suffering as a path at all. Our culture sees suffering as something to be completely avoided.

What unavoidable suffering is in your life today? Are you trying to avoid it? Or are you embracing it?

After traveling to the uncharted Pacific Ocean as a missionary, Saint Peter Chanel found himself in immense unavoidable suffering. He didn’t waste it. He embraced it.

Peter and a couple of other missionaries from France ended up on Futuna Island, near the Fiji Islands. Soon, the Bishop they traveled with abandoned them. Peter was left on the island with only one other person who spoke his language, a monk.

Peter was lonely and often deeply sad. He was also afraid for his life, and for good reason: The locals often threatened him with violence, and tribal wars were constantly breaking out across the island. He was only able to baptize a few people, and with each person that was baptized, the threats against him grew.

Peter found himself in a situation with almost no emotional or physical comfort. But he trusted that God was with him, and that this suffering had meaning. So he made the choice to embrace his suffering, no matter how difficult things became. And that gave him the strength to go forward, to continue doing God’s work, and to be brave rather than bitter. As time went on, he learned to find joy in his suffering.

Peter’s work started to bear amazing fruit. His unwavering patience, humility, and love gradually won the hearts of many on the island. Eventually, the chieftain’s son asked to be baptized. Peter knew that agreeing to this request would likely cost him his life, but he was willing to sacrifice his life for his selfless love of others. And that is what he did. After baptizing the chieftain’s son, Saint Peter Chanel was killed.

Saint Peter Chanel has a lesson to teach us all. When we embrace all that comes our way, including the unavoidable suffering in our lives, God uses it to bring us closer to him. 

Let’s not waste the unavoidable suffering in our lives. Instead, let’s allow it to transform us and transform our world.


I will embrace everything that comes my way.

This reflection is brought to you from book title.

Patron Saint of: Oceania

Feast Day: April 28

Feast Day Shared By: Saint Louis-Mary Grignion de Montfort

Canonized: June 12, 1954

Canonized By: Pope Pius XII

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