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James Martin, S.J.January 19, 2008
AMDG Father Adolfo Nicolas, of Spain, has been elected today as the 30th Superior General of the Society of Jesus, by the Delegates of the 35th General Congregation, and his election has been confirmed by Pope Benedict XVI. Here is some biographical information about Father General, from the official communique: Born in Palencia (in Spain) on 29 April 1936. Entered the Jesuit novitiate at Aranjuez in the Toletana Province (Spain) in 1953 Received his Licentiate in Philosophy in 1960 at Alcalá, Madrid and then studied theology in Tokyo. Ordained a priest on 17 March 1967 in Tokyo. From 1968-1971 completed his master’s degree in theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. Professor of systematic theology at Sophia University in Tokyo beginning in 1971. Director of the Pastoral Institute of Manila (1978-1984). Rector of the Jesuit scholasticate (training young Jesuits) in Tokyo (1991-1993). Provincial of Japan (1993-1999). Since 2004 he has been the moderator of the Jesuit Conference of East Asia and Oceania. Father General speaks Spanish, Japanese, English, French and Italian. And a comment from your correspondent in New York... Today, every one of the almost 20,000 Jesuits has a new leader. And each of those Jesuits will, at some point today, pray in thanksgiving to God for the election of Father Nicolas, the man who succeeds the estimable Father Kolvenbach. Also, every Jesuit, young and old, will be devouring information about their new Superior General for clues about his outlook on the future of the Society of Jesus. Interestingly, like Father Nicolas, Pedro Arrupe, the Superior General before Father Kolvenbach, had also been Provincial of Japan, something that helped Father Arrupe understand the world, and the church, from a non-European perspective. Father Nicolas, a distinguished theologian, has spent most of his Jesuit life in the Far East, has been responsible for training young Jesuits, and also has had much experience in governance and administration. The delegates have chosen a man with a solid background in theology, extensive experience in a country that is largely non-Christian, and an admirable combination of administrative skills, to lead them into the 21st century. Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam! James Martin, SJ
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14 years ago
Jim, Thanks for your brief post on Fr. Adolfo Nicolas, our new Father General. I was up early this morning to check for the news about the election and I can't tell you how happy I am that the man called to lead us is Fr. Nicolas. I had the privilege of of meeting him in 1994 when he was the provincial of Japan. I met him again last summer in Manila while on an official visit to Asia on behalf of the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley. Both times I experienced him as hospitable, simple, warm, friendly, and honest. Fr. Nicolas is an excellent theologian and an extraordinary leader. He is a man of vision and scope, a very capable administrator but also someone capable of stirring our hearts. He catches some of the best qualities of his two predecessors -- Fr. Pedro Arrupe and Fr. Peter-Hans Kolvenbach. With God's grace, he will lead and guide us well. I, for one, believe that on this day the Lord has visited the Society of Jesus and the Church. We are indeed richly blessed! Kevin Burke, S.J.
14 years ago
Thanks for your comment, Kevin. I have been hearing all day from Jesuits who are delighted, and grateful to God, for Father Nicolas's election. Father General has already been described to me by Jesuits who know him as "warm," "wise," "serene," and having a "terrific sense of humor." I encourage anyyone who is interested to check out the wonderful website that Creighton has been sponsoring, which includes not only interesting documentation, but some extremely moving photos of Father Nicolas's election. (Rather than list the site's address, here, you can just Google "GC 35" and "Creighton" and get there just as fast.)
14 years ago
Blessings to all the members of the Society of Jesus! I know nothing of the man, but Fr. Martin, I do remember with great warmth your chapter on Fr. Pedro Arrupe in My Life with the Saints. If your newly-elected superior is eliciting a reaction which recalls the fatherly love with which Fr. Arrupe lead the Order, then it must be that God has blessed you all, and the greater Church, as well. May the Spirit of God, through the intercession of Mary, Our Mother of Good Counsel, continue to guide you all in your dedicated service to Christ and His Church! Peace in Christ, Michael Hallman

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