Pedro Arrupe

Superior General of the Society of Jesus (1907-1991)

Pedro Arrupe, who was elected Superior General of the Jesuits in 1965, oversaw a renewal of the Society so profound that he is revered by many Jesuits as a “second founder.” Specifically, he was instrumental in defining the modern mission of the Jesuits in terms of “faith that does justice.”

Arrupe’s sense of solidarity with a suffering world had roots in his early years as a priest. Assigned to Japan in 1936, he was serving only four miles from the center of Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, when he was nearly blinded by the flash of the first atomic bomb. The memory of that day and of the survivors whom he tended was present to him in each Mass he celebrated for the rest of his life.

His compassion developed over time into a conviction that ministry to oppressed and suffering peoples must not remain on the personal level alone, but should also promote structural changes in the world. Under his leadership Jesuits around the world took up the promotion of justice as an essential aspect of evangelization.

In 1981 Arrupe suffered a disabling stroke. He spent his final years mute and dependent of others. Now, after years of prophetic leadership, he served God through prayer and patient suffering. Thus he exemplified the Ignatian discipline of “finding God in all things.” He died on February 5, 1991.

 “More than ever I find myself in the hands of God. This is what I have wanted all my life from my youth. But now there is a difference; the initiative is entirely with God.”

-Pedro Arrupe, SJ, after suffering a stroke

Thanks to Msgr. Tom Cahalane for passing this onto us.

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