Engaging Faith: Practical lesson ideas and activities for Catholic Educators

December 16, 2013

In Expectation of the Canonization of Blessed Peter Faber

Some time within the next week, Pope Francis is expected to announce the canonization of one of his favorite Jesuits, Blessed Peter Faber. The process will be the unique "equivalent canonization" in which the pope inserts the name of a person into the universal calendar of saints without verifying a miracle and without a formal canonization ceremony. In anticipation of the event, share some information on the life of Peter Faber. Have your students monitor the news stories from the Vatican on what might take place around this issue.

Brief Biography

Peter Faber grew up in a poor family and was a shepherd in the Alps. He wanted so much to go to school that he would cry himself to sleep. So, finally, his parents sent him to school where he easily learned the basics and progressed forward in the educational system. Peter’s roommate at the University of Paris was Francis Xavier and later, Ignatius Loyola. While Peter tutored Ignatius academically, Ignatius helped Peter decide what God was calling him to. He decided to become a priest.

The pope appointed Peter Faber to the faculty of Rome’s Sapienza University. He was also assigned to participate in a Catholic/Protestant meeting in Worms and Ratisbon. In his spare time, he gave the Spiritual Exercises retreat to many people. King John III then asked him to establish the Society of Jesus in Portugal. On the way to the Council of Trent, he stopped in Rome to visit Ignatius. Faber had been suffering from a fever and died at the age of 40 in the company of St. Ignatius.

More information on the life of Bl. Peter Faber is available here.

Discussion Points

  1. The Society of Jesus (Jesuits) sprung from the friendships of three university roommates. How much impact do you think college roommates will have in your life?

  2. On the one hand, Peter Faber was sent by others to accomplish various assignments. On the other hand, everywhere he went he heard confessions, counseled people, and led them in the Spiritual Exercises. How much freedom do you anticipate having as an adult? Would you be available to travel to do good works?

  3. Look at Italy, Spain, and Portugal via Google Maps or some other similar tool. Peter Faber walked all over Italy and all the way to Portugal and back to Rome. What kind of toll do you think this took on his health?

  4. Peter Faber suffered from depression and anxiety and found himself especially susceptible to thoughts that would violate his vows as a Jesuit. He found that the wisdom from the Spiritual Exercises helped him recognize his different states of mind including Satan’s temptations. How do you think that this experience made it harder for him to give retreats to other people or give him insight that would help the retreatants?

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