RELIGION

Saint Pierre Favre Canonized: Pope Francis Makes Jesuit Priest Peter Faber A Saint

12/17/2013 12:14 pm ET | Updated Dec 17, 2013
Wikipedia

Pope Francis on Tuesday announced the canonization of Pierre Favre, a 16th century Jesuit priest who is often dubbed the "second Jesuit" for being the first priest who joined the Society of Jesus after its founder, St. Ignatius of Loyola.

The move, which bypasses standard Vatican protocol for establishing new saints, is called an "equivalent canonization," and usually done for church figures who are already widely recognized and have partially gone through the process of becoming a saint but never completed it. Favre, or Peter Faber, was beatified by the church on September 5, 1872.

Favre's canonization was rumored for several months and Francis, also a Jesuit, has said he's fond of the priest. In an interview this year with America, a Jesuit magazine, Francis praised Favre 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.”

The Rev. James Martin, an editor-at-large of America and author of The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything, called Favre a "model of charity."

"Along with St. Francis Xavier, he was roommates with St. Ignatius Loyola, the Jesuit founder, when they were students at the University of Paris. From that little trio came the Jesuit Order. Because of his deep spirituality, his humility and his ability to dialogue with anyone, Pierre Favre is beloved by Jesuits, he said.

"My all-time favorite quote from Favre is, 'Take care, take care, never to close your heart to anyone.'"

More from the Associated Press:

NICOLE WINFIELD
Associated Press

VATICAN CITY (AP) - Pope Francis on Tuesday declared the 16th-century Jesuit Pierre Favre a saint, bypassing the Vatican's typical saint-making procedures to honor the first recruit of Jesuit founder St. Ignatius Loyola.

The announcement was made on Francis' 77th birthday.

Favre, who lived from 1506 to 1546, met Ignatius while the two were college roommates in Paris along with another future Jesuit, Francis Xavier. Favre later was ordained and spent most of his ministry preaching Catholicism in Germany and elsewhere during the Protestant Reformation.

The first Jesuit pope recently spoke about the importance Favre had in his life, in particular his message of dialogue with anyone, "even the most remote and even with his opponents."

In an interview with the Jesuit journal La Civilta Cattolica, Francis cited Favre's "simple piety, a certain naļveté 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."

In September, Francis bypassed typical Vatican procedures to unilaterally declare another saint, Pope John XXIII. Francis decreed that John would be canonized along with Pope John Paul II on April 27 even though the Vatican hadn't confirmed a second miracle attributed to John's intercession.

In Favre's case, Francis was believed to be relying on a rarely used "equivalent canonization" process. With it, popes can declare that someone who has enjoyed widespread reverence over time deserves veneration by the universal church without having to go through the Vatican's typical procedures, which include ascertaining two miracles attributed to the candidate's intercession.

The Vatican announcement said that Francis had extended to the universal church the veneration to Favre and had inscribed him in the catalogue of saints.

Then-Pope Benedict XVI used the procedure in his pontificate to declare Hildegard of Bingen a saint. He did so, and later made her a doctor of the church, after having referred to her in a catechism lesson as a saint, even though she had never been canonized.

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