Pedro Arrupe: The Cause for Beatification is Open

Issue 1904

4 April 2019

On November 14, 2018, the feast of St. Giuseppe Pignatelli, Fr. Arturo Sosa, the Superior General of the Society of Jesus, announced to the entire Society that “the process has begun toward the possible beatification of Fr. Pedro Arrupe.” The Society of Jesus had asked the Vicariate of Rome, the place where Fr. Arrupe died, to begin the ecclesial discernment of the heroic nature of his virtues. Then on February 5, 2019, the 28th anniversary of his death, in the Basilica of St. John Lateran, the session to open the cause of his beatification was held.

The Superior General mentioned in his letter how he had been able to verify in the last few months that the memory and legacy of the man who was the 28th successor of St. Ignatius as the leader of the Society of Jesus was still alive in many diverse locations around the world.

Arrupe was born in Bilbao, Spain, on November 14, 1907. He studied medicine in Madrid from 1923 to 1927, the year in which he entered the novitiate in Loyola. After his studies in the humanities and philosophy he earned a degree in theology and was ordained a priest on July 30, 1936, in Valkenburg, Holland, as the Jesuits had been expelled from Spain in 1932.

He asked his superiors to allow him to go as a missionary to Japan, to which he was missioned in 1938. He was the master of novices when, on August 6, 1945, he was a witness to the atomic explosion at Hiroshima. In 1958 he was named provincial of the recently founded Jesuit Province of Japan.

He was a member of the 31st General Congregation, which elected him Superior General on May 22, 1965. He participated in the latter stages of the Council, was elected to the Union of Superiors General, the Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on six occasions, as well as the Latin-American Conferences at Medellin (1968) and Puebla (1979).

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