Pope Francis recognized the sainthood of early Jesuit Peter Faber on Dec. 17 after holding a private audience with Cardinal Angelo Amato, prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.
The decision, “enrolling in the catalogue of Saints” one of the co-founders of the Society of Jesus, was announced through the Holy See press office. The announcement said the Pope had “extended to the Universal Church the liturgical cult in honor of Blessed Peter Faber.”
It was also announced that Pope Francis had authorized the congregation to acknowledge a miracle attributed to the intercession of Venerable Maria Teresa Demjanovich, a sister of the Congregation of the Sisters of Charity of St. Elizabeth, from New Jersey who died in 1927; the heroic virtues of Emmanuel Herranz Estables, a Spanish priest who died in 1968; and the heroic virtues of Giorgio Ciesielski, a Polish layman and father who died in 1970.
The means of St. Peter Faber's canonization is equivalent to that of St. Angela of Foligno, whom Pope Francis canonized Oct. 9. According Italian publication La Stampa, St. Angela's canonization diverged from the normal process involving the recognition of a second miracle attributed to the saint's intercession.
Such a canonization is done “when such a saint has been from a remote period the object of veneration, when his heroic virtues (or martyrdom) and miracles are related by reliable historians, and the fame of his miraculous intercession is uninterrupted,” La Stampa wrote.
St. Peter Faber was born in 1506, and studied at the University of Paris, where he met St. Ignatius Loyola and St Francis Xavier; the three went on to become the founders of the Society of Jesus. St. Peter Faber was ordained a priest in 1534, and served across Europe.
He died in 1546, and his relics are kept at the Church of the Gesu, the Jesuits' mother church in Rome. His feast has been kept Aug. 2, the anniversary of his death, by the Society of Jesus, and he was beatified in 1872 by Pius IX.
Pope Francis has referred to the new saint at least twice in his pontificate, both in his apostolic exhortation “Evangelii gaudium” and in his Sept. 30 interview with Jesuit publications.
In “Evangelii gaudium,” Pope Francis quoted the saint as saying “time is God's messenger,” making a point about the need for patience, an ability to listen, and docility to the Holy Spirit, in the process of drawing others closer to God.
In his Sept. 30 interview, the Pope cited St. Peter Faber as a Jesuit who had particularly affected him, saying he was moved by the priest'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.”