August 2, 2020 — 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 Jesus.
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.
Pope 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.”