Peter Favre was a born into a small farming community in the Duchy of Savoy, the French Alps. He was a shepherd from a young age, and had no early formal education but he had a remarkable memory, being able to repeat verbatim what he heard, hours later.
Eventually, he was entrusted to a priest in a nearby village for his primary education and then a school in a further village.
At 19, Peter went to the University of Paris, where he met Francis Xavier. His spiritual views began, influenced by Christian humanism, the popular devotions of the time and Thomism. He met Ignatius Loyola and they tutored each other, Peter helping with the philosophy of Aristotle and Ignatius with spiritual matters.
Peter was ordained in May of 1534 and, just months later, he, Loyola, Xavier and a few others took vows as the first members of the Society of Jesus. Peter was seen as second in command to Loyola. A man of friendliness, engaging conversations and guidance of souls, he crisscrossed Europe on foot. He guided bishops, priests, nobles and common folk in the Spiritual Exercises. He was often alone, but never lonely, speaking to the saints and his guardian angel, asking for help in personal sanctification and success in his evangelization.
In 1537, the pope asked him to go to Parma and Piacenza, to preach on Christian piety. In 1540 he was recalled and sent to Germany, where, rather than debating theology, he preached personal reform. At the end of 1541, he was called to Spain to work with Loyola. But that did not last too long, because he was recalled to Germany six months later. For a year and a half, he worked in that country, trying to win people away from the new Lutheranism. He found many men to train. Between 1544 and 1546, Peter went back to Spain and Portugal where he preached and fostered vocations to the clergy.
In April, 1546, Peter was called to attend the Council of Trent as a peritus (expert). But his body was exhausted from so much work and he succumbed to a fever August 1, 1546, at the young age of 40.
He was finally canonized December 17, 2013.
"It is necessary that anyone who desires to be serviceable to heretics of the present age should hold them in great affection and love them very truly, putting out of his heart all thoughts and feelings that tend to their discredit."