Today the Congregation for the Causes of Saints announced that Pope Francis has declared Blessed Peter Faber a saint, forgoing the usual procedure for canonization. Faber, one of the early companions of Society of Jesus founder St. Ignatius Loyola, is known to be a particular favorite of Pope Francis, who is himself a Jesuit; the decree of his sainthood was promulgated on the Holy Father’s 77th birthday.
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For Faber’s “equivalent canonization,” the pope adds the name of the new saint to the universal calendar of saints, without verifying that a miracle was performed through his intercession and without holding a formal canonization ceremony.
In a groundbreaking interview with Jesuit publications this fall, the pope singled out for praise the man often called the “Second Jesuit.” He said he admired Faber’s “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.”
Faber was born in the Upper Savoy region of France in 1506 and was said by St. Ignatius to be the man best suited to direct others in the Spiritual Exercises. Faber — whose story is not nearly as well known as those of his two college roommates, Ignatius Loyola and Francis Xavier — spent a great deal of his Jesuit life working with Protestants during the explosive time of the Reformation. Faber died in Rome in 1547 a few weeks before he was due to attend the Council of Trent. He was beatified in September 1872.