In today’s first reading Jeremiah says words, which suit our saint of the day (just declared such by Pope Francis, on December 17, 2013): “It was the Lord, who sent me to you.” Peter Faber was born on April 13, 1506, in Savoy in southeastern France, where France, Italy and Switzerland come together in the Alps. He was a shepherd, as a boy, but a very smart and intelligent one, with a phenomenal memory. It is said that he could hear a sermon once and repeat it, word for word.

He had a winning personality, and he was known to be cordial, elegant and learned, especially with regard to Sacred Scripture. He was a roommate of Francis Xavier at the University of Paris, when Ignatius joined them. These three were the key players in the founding of the Society (or Company, as they preferred to call it) of Jesus. While Ignatius would spend 26 years in a small set of rooms in Rome, writing the Constitutions of the Society of Jesus, and some 70,000 letters pertaining to spiritual direction and governance, Xavier would spend ten years crisscrossing the Far East, and Faber ten years, crisscrossing Europe trying to heal the wounds of the Reformation.

For me Faber is a model as a genuine ecumenist, treating the Protestants with great respect, even though he disagreed with them theologically.

—Fr. Robert Braunreuther, S.J., a Jesuit of the New England province, assists in University Ministry at Loyola University Chicago, where he is also minister of the Arrupe House Jesuit community.