|Bl. Peter Faber|
Co-founder of the Society of Jesus
|Born||13 April 1506
|Died||2 August 1546|
|Honored in||Roman Catholicism|
|Beatified||5 September 1872|
The Blessed Peter Faber, S.J., (French: Pierre Lefevre or Pierre Favre, Spanish: Pedro Fabro, Latin: Petrus Faver) (13 April 1506 – 1 August 1546) was a French Jesuit theologian and a co-founder of the Society of Jesus. He was beatified by the Roman Catholic Church on 5 September 1872.
Early life 
Faber was born in 1506 to a peasant family in the village of Villaret, in the former Duchy of Savoy (now Saint-Jean-de-Sixt in the French Department of Haute-Savoie). As a boy, he was a shepherd in the high pastures of the French Alps. Young Peter had little education, but he did have a remarkable memory; he could hear a sermon in the morning and then repeat it verbatim in the afternoon for his friends. His two uncles were Carthusian priors. At first, he was entrusted to the care of a priest at Thônes and later to a school in the neighboring village of La Roche-sur-Foron.
In 1525 Faber moved to Paris, where he met people from all parts of Europe. He was admitted to the Collège Sainte-Barbe, long the oldest school in the University of Paris, where he shared lodging with a student from Navarre, Francis Xavier. According to Severin Leitner, it was here that Faber spiritual views began to develop, influenced by a combination of popular devotion, Christian humanism, late medieval scholasticism.
Faber and Xavier became close friends, receiving the degree of Master of Arts on the same day in 1530. At the university, Peter also met Ignatius of Loyola and became one of his associates. He tutored Ignatius in the Greek philosophy of Aristotle, while Ignatius tutored the former shepherd in spiritual matters. In 1534 Faber made the spiritual exercises under the guidance of St. Ignatius.
Jesuit preacher 
Faber was ordained in 1534, the first among the small circle of men who formed the Society of Jesus. As a priest, he was able to receive the religious vows of Ignatius and his five companions, which took place at Montmartre, on August 15 of the same year. Three others joined these first six candidates.
After graduation, Ignatius returned to Spain for a period of convalescence. He instructed them all to meet at Venice, and charged Faber to conduct them there. After Loyola himself, Faber was the one whom Xavier and his companions esteemed the most. Leaving Paris on 15 November 1536, Faber and his companions rejoined Ignatius at Venice in January, 1537. Ignatius then thought of going to evangelize the Holy Land, but concluded God had destined him for a wider field of action. They decided to bind themselves together in an apostolic community that became the Society of Jesus, also known as the Jesuit Order.
Recalled to Rome, in 1540 Faber was sent to Germany to uphold the position of the Catholic Church at the Diet of Worms, which had no significant outcome. He then participated at the Diet of Ratisbon in 1541. Faber was startled by the unrest which the Protestant forces had stirred up in Germany, and by the state of decadence he found in the Catholic hierarchy. He saw that the remedy did not lie in discussions with the Protestants, but in the reform of the Roman Catholic, especially of the clergy. For ten months, at Speyer, at Ratisbon, and at Mainz, he conducted himself with gentleness with all those with whom he dealt. Princes, prelates, and priests revealed their consciences to him, and people were astounded by the efficacy of an apostolate accomplished so rapidly.
Faber possessed the gift of friendship to a remarkable degree. He was famous not for his preaching, but for his engaging conversations and his guidance of souls. He crisscrossed Europe on foot, guiding bishops, priests, nobles and common people alike in the Spiritual Exercises.
Called to Spain by Loyola, he had hardly been in Spain six months when, by order of the pope, he was again sent to Germany. For the next nineteen months, Faber was to work for the reform of Speyer, Mainz, and Cologne, which proved to be a huge challenge. He gradually gained the confidence of the clergy, and recruited many young men to the Jesuits, among them Peter Canisius. The success of his mission has led him to be called the "Apostle of Germany". The Archbishop of Cologne, Hermann of Wied, was already in favor of Lutheranism, which he was later publicly to embrace. It was also at Cologne that Faber especially exercised his zeal. After spending some months at Leuven, in 1543, where he implanted the seeds of numerous vocations among the young, he returned to Cologne. Between 1544 and 1546, Faber continued his work in Portugal and Spain.
Through his influence while at the royal court of Lisbon, Faber was instrumental in establishing the Society of Jesus in Portugal. King John III of Portugal wanted him to be made Patriarch of Ethiopia. There and in Spain, he was a fervent and effective preacher. He was called to preach in the principal cities of Spain, where he aroused fervor among the local populations and fostered vocations to the clergy. Among them there was another significant figure in the future of the Jesuits, Francis Borgia.
|Society of Jesus|
History of the Jesuits
Faber, at age forty, was exhausted by his incessant efforts and his unceasing journeys, always made on foot. He was appointed, however, by Pope Paul III to act as a peritus on behalf of the Holy See at the Council of Trent. On his journey to attend the Council, he made it only as far as Rome. Faber, weakened by fever, arrived there July 17, 1546, to die in the arms of Loyola, on 2 August 1546.
Historical Context 
Strangely, John Calvin was going through his own trials at the University of Paris during the same time Faber, Xavier and Loyola were laying the foundation of the Society of Jesus. They and the Calvinists long accused each other of stealing ideas from the other. Scholars believe this to be because of the similar backgrounds and philosophies of both groups.
Faber became an effective preacher and giver of the Spiritual Exercises, working in Italy, Spain, Portugal, and Germany. Much of his ministry was in Germany. There he drew up guidelines for ecumenical dialogue with Lutherans, but unfortunately these were hardly put into practice. He was known, among the early companions of the Jesuits to be the finest guide for those making the Spiritual Exercises.
Posthumous recognition 
Francis Xavier, Peter Faber and Ignatius of Loyola all became roommates at the University of Paris and are all recognized by the Jesuits as founders of the Society of Jesus.
Those who had known Faber in life already invoked him as a saint. St. Francis de Sales, whose character recalled that of Faber's, never spoke of him except as a saint. Peter Faber was beatified on 5 September 1872. His feast is kept on 8 August.
Faber was honored as part of the 2006 Jesuit Jubilee Year which celebrated the spirit of the founders of the Society of Jesus on three special Jesuit anniversaries:
- 500th anniversary of the birth of Francis Xavier - born April 7, 1506
- 500th anniversary of the birth of Peter Faber - born April 13, 1506
- 450th anniversary of the death of Ignatius Loyola - died July 31, 1556
The jubilee year officially began December 3, 2005 
These anniversaries were celebrated in the Jesuits Jubilee year 2006. Lecture series, publications, art and music events marked these anniversaries throughout 2006 at Regis University and within Jesuit institutions around the world.
The Blessed Peter Faber Jesuit Community is an international Community of Jesuits whose primary apostolate is theological reflection, scholarship, and research.
- About Regis: What it means to be Jesuit
- "Blessed Peter Faber, SJ (1506–1546)", Ignatian Spirituality
- Tylenda, SJ, Joseph N. Jesuit Saints and Martyrs, 2nd ed., Loyola Press, 1998
- Leitner, Severin. "The Spirituality of Peter Faber", Review of Ignatian Spirituality, 2005
- Michael Servetus Research Website that includes graphical documents in the University of Paris of: Ignatius of Loyola, Francis Xavier, Alfonso Salmerón, Nicholas Bobadilla, Peter Faber and Simao Rodrigues, as well as Michael de Villanueva ("Servetus")
- Suau, Pierre. "Bl. Peter Faber." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 11. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1911. 3 Apr. 2013
- "Blessed Peter Faber", ucanews
- Faber Jesuit Community
- Encyclopaedia Britannica, Peter Faber
- Pierre Favre in the Historical Archives of the Pontifical Gregorian University