Monday, August 8, 2011

The First Disciple Of Ignatius Loyola: Blessed Peter Favre, S.J.

So it was to be. Peter Favre was ill at Barcelona before he could sail, and was urged to delay his voyage. But he had but one idea, that of obeying the order given him to present himself to the Pope. He sailed on June 21, and was at the gates of Rome in less than a month. 
It is said that Ignatius hesitated to allow him to come at that terribly dangerous season of the year, but the other fathers listened only to their own eagerness to see Favre once more, or, in the case of many of them, for the first time, and the prudence of the General was overruled. Favre had hardly been in Rome a week, enjoying the renewal of his long disused intercourse with the "father of his soul," 
when his illness returned with malignant force, and in a few days his recovery was despaired of. Full of joy at the thought of being with his God, he calmed and encouraged his weeping friends, and prepared himself once more for that last moment for which his whole life had been a preparation. He died in the arms of St . Ignatius, in the afternoon of August 1, the feast of St. Peter's Chains, which that year fell upon a Sunday. 
Favre's latest biographer tells us how a feeling of peace and joy came over the fathers at Rome almost at the moment of their great loss; how St. Ignatius, in announcing his death to the Society, left out the usual order that Masses should be celebrated for the repose of his soul, and spoke of him as an intercessor gained to the Society in heaven; how St. Francis Xavier in the Indies, on his first voyage after receiving the news of his death, invoked his assistance in a terrible tempest; and how St. Francis Borgia at Gandia, saw him at the moment of his death, in great glory, "saying great things concerning Christ's obedience and his own, expressing the greatest happiness at having died for obedience, and promising never to cease to pour forth supplications to God for the Church." 
Ignatius, in order to calm the grief of the fathers at Rome, communicated to them at this time the hitherto secret intention of Borgia to enter the Society. Favre was counted as a saint from the first, and we find the same opinion of him held by St. Francis de Sales in the generation after his own. His name has always been great among the children of the Society, and yet it is not to them that he owes his present position in their Calendar among the beatified servants of God. It was in his own country, at Villaret, among the rugged mountains of Savoy, where he had tended his sheep as a boy, and preached like a little apostle to the villagers on the Sundays and festivals, that religious veneration was paid to him, a chapel built on the spot on which he was born, Mass celebrated solemnly on the anniversary of his death, and a pilgrimage established in his honour. 
Link (here) to the portion of original essay at The Month and (here) to the beginning of the same essay.


Andrew said...

I always wondered why Peter Favre never became a Saint, and kind of got "stuck" at Beatification. Guess he would be a good person to pray for if you need a miracle!

Joseph Fromm said...


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Kitchen Benchtops said...

September 5, 1872, Pope Pius IX, acknowledging the cult that had been paid to Peter Favre in his native Savoy, confirmed it by apostolic decree and declared that he was among the blessed in heaven. Bl. Peter Favre's memorial is celebrated on August 2.

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