August 2, 2017 — Today, the Jesuits celebrate the feast of St. Peter Faber, SJ, one of the
original members of the Society of Jesus.
Faber was born in 1506 to a peasant family in the Upper
Savoy region of France. In 1525, he traveled to Paris for his studies; there, he met Francis Xavier and Ignatius Loyola. Together under the
leadership of Ignatius, they and four other companions would form the Society of
Ignatius considered Faber the man best suited to direct others in the
Spiritual Exercises, a series of meditations,
prayers and other contemplative practices developed by Ignatius for spiritual
growth. Faber spent a great deal of his Jesuit life working with
Protestants during the Protestant Reformation, an especially tumultuous time in
Europe. Faber died in Rome in 1547 a few weeks before he was due to attend
the Council of Trent.
In 1872, Faber was beatified, but the cause for his sainthood
stopped there. More than 140 years later, he was canonized by his brother
Jesuit, Pope Francis, on Dec. 17, 2013, the pope’s 77th birthday.
Francis has long admired Faber for his “dialogue with all, even the most remote
and even with his opponents; his simple piety, a certain naïveté, perhaps; his
being available straightaway; his careful interior discernment; the fact that
he was a man capable of great and strong decisions but also capable of being so
gentle and loving.”