Father Pedro Arrupe was truly a man of God, born to lead the Jesuit’s to greatness. Born in Bilbao, Spain, he initially felt called to set the world ablaze through medicine. He undertook medical training for a number of years, but decided his true calling lay with the Jesuits, joining in 1927. He was unable to pursue his studies in Spain as the Republican government had expelled the Order. This did not deter him, as he was unwavering in his pursuit of priesthood; he undertook his studies in the Netherlands and Belgium. Soon, Pedro was ordained and well on his way to finding his place in the Order. The Society sent him to The United States to study Medical Ethics, after which he set out to spread the faith to Japan. In 1958, Father Arrupe was appointed the first Jesuit provincial for Japan, a position he held until being elected Father General in 1965. His work in Japan truly moulded his character and prepared him for his future role as Superior General. In 1965, Father Arrupe found his final role in Jesuits; he was elected Superior General of the Order. Wit guidance from the Lord, Arrupe served the Order for eighteen years, sparking a change in the Society the immense that he is seen by many to be the second founder of the Jesuits. Sadly, this brilliant leader was forced to resign due to his waning health.
Setting the World Alight
The contributions Father Arrupe made to the Society of Jesus are innumerable. He showed his fellow Jesuits how to narrow in on faith and justice. The mark that Pedro left on the Jesuits can still be seen today. Arrupe realised that serving oppressed and suffering peoples must not remain solely personal; The world also needed structural and political changes to eliminate the sources of o...
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...p with God became one of prayer and patient suffering. To me, this speaks volumes. It shows that you don’t have to proclaim your love for God to the world; your faith is just as meaningful when it is one of prayer and personal reflection. The prayer he wrote for the congregation to elect his successor read: ‘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. It is indeed a profound spiritual experience to know and feel myself so totally in God's hands.’ I wonder how Father Arrupe found the strength to surrender his will and actions to God so as to be one with him; it must have required an immense trust in the Lord.
All Saints: Daily Reflections on Saints, Prophets, and Witnesses for Our Time" by Robert Ellsberg (New York: Crossroad, 1997)
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