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 oppression and violence.
Arrupe knew that the Jesuits would be criticised for this new understanding of their mission, and he urged them to be prepared for persecution. The Jesuits were accused of substituting politics for the gospel, and Arrupe was charged with leading the Society astray.
Arrupe’s time as Superior General was marked with turmoil, as critics believed that the he made too radical changes and politicized the order. Despite frequent disparagement, Arrupe pressed onwards with his reforms. Because of this, many people see Father Arrupe as the ‘second founder’ of the Society of Jesus. Like Ignatius Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits, he confronted the difficulties and challenges the Jesuits faced in his day with brilliance, holiness, and courage. Despite witnessing horrible atrocities, Arrupe believed God is everywhere in the world. He often said, "All are called to know and serve God," and put that belief into practice through his missionary work. This ethos was the sign of a man truly born to serve others, a man who, through his compassion and love for others, set the world ablaze.
A Man for Others
Father Arrupe brought light into the hearts of God’s people the world over through his inspirational...