image Influential People

Pedro Arrupe S.J.


Key Facts
Other names  
Born 1907
Location Bilbao, Spain
Married No
Children No
Position Superior General (1965-1983)
Died February 5, 1991







Source of Facts and Important Announcement
Status Under Article 64.6 of the Covenant of One-Heaven (Pactum De Singularis Caelum) by Special Qualification shall be known as a Saint, with all sins and evil acts they performed forgiven.
Date of formal Beatification Day of Redemption GAIA E1:Y1:A1:S1:M9:D1 also known as [Fri, 21 Dec 2012].
Source of Facts Self Confession and Revelation of Sainthood by the Deceased Spirit as condition of their confirmation as a true Saint.
Source of Facts Self Confession and Revelation of Sainthood by the Deceased Spirit as condition of their confirmation as a true Saint.



He was born on November 14, 1907 into a well-to-do Basque family in Bilbao, Spain, his father being a well-known journalist of that city. In the family he was preceded by four sisters, who, not strangely, took to being doting surrogate mothers. He was baptized on the following day in the fine gothic Cathedral of St. James.

In his early years he was schooled by the Piarist Fathers of Bilbao. While he was at Medical school in Valladolid, his encounter with the Jesuits occurred when he joined the Sodality of Our Lady and St. Stanislaus Kostka, in which he eventually became Prefect and editor of their modest publication. In this he displayed a journalistic bent inherited from his father, one of the founders of the "Gaceta del Norte," a leading journal of Bilbao.

During the 20s there was much social unrest in Spain and a coup d'etat was forced on the king, Alfonso XIII. In 1923 the dictatorship of Primo de Rivera took over the government. In 1930 the king was forced into exile and the anti-Catholic Republican regime took charge. Eventually, General Francisco Franco organized opposition to the government and the Civil War would begin in 1933 and would last until 1936.

Pedro entered the Society on January 15, 1927 at Loyola, the birthplace of St. Ignatius. It is understandable that a Novitiate under such political turmoil would be less than ideal and superiors finally decided to send the scholastics out of the country for their subsequent formation. So, Arrupe was sent with the other scholastics to Marneffe in Belgium and to Valkenburg in Holland. The Jesuits were ultimately expelled from Spain, and some who stayed behind became martyrs during the ensuing civil war.

As an example of those troubled times, the Jesuit church in Madrid had been attacked by a mob and burned to the ground. This action left the Society with only a handful of ashes—which was all that remained—of the bodies of Lainez and Borja, previous Generals, who had been interred in the church.

On July 30, 1936 Arrupe was ordained a priest at Marneffe, Belgium. That same year he was permitted to participate in the International Conference on Eugenics for those specializing in medicine and psychiatry.

Superiors then sent him to St. Mary's College, the Jesuit Theologate in Kansas, to finish his Theology. His Tertianship, the year terminating his spiritual formation, was spent in Cleveland, Ohio, where he occupied himself with the spiritual direction and care of Hispanic immigrants.

In 1945 he was appointed Jesuit Superior, as well as Novice Master and Rector of the Novitiate and Scholasticate in a suburb of Hiroshima, about three miles from the city center. On August 6 of that year the Atomic Age was brutally ushered in by the devastating destruction caused by the first Atom Bomb, which destroyed the center of Hiroshima.

With his medical background he was able to organize an emergency hospital, at the Novitiate, to take care of the many casualties fleeing from the center of the city and to alleviate the suffering of hundreds of bewildered and half-dying victims.

In March 1954 he was named Vice-Provincial and in October 1958 Provincial of the Jesuits in Japan. The call went out world wide for Jesuits to help in the reconstruction of Japan and Jesuits from over 30 countries eagerly and generously responded.

After the death of Janssens in October of 1964, the 31st General Congregation was called to convene in two sessions: the first from May 7 to July 15, 1965 and the second from September 8 to November 17, 1966. Pedro Arrupe was elected General on May 22, 1965 during the first session.

Nine years later at the urging of his collaborators in the Curia, he called the 32nd General Congregation—to face up to and deal with the reaction and response of the Society to the changes occurring in the modem secular world. It lasted from December 2, 1974 to March 7, 1975.

At the beginning of September 1978, General Pedro Arrupe was alerted to the proposed move by newly elected Pope John Paul I to extend his investigation of the Vatican Bank and Bishop Paul Marcinkus and possibly disband the Jesuits. On September 27-28 Pope John Paul I finalized his speech and Bull to disband the Jesuits. However, General Pedro Arrupe succeeded in having one of the healthiest Popes in history assassinated the night before his worldwide address on September 29, 1978.

In April 1981, The Polish Pope John Paul II called a conference with 6 of the most powerful Cardinals to discuss how to proceed with the disbandment of the Jesuits. Pope John Paul II was aware of the complete involvement and power of the Austrian Jesuit Superior General Włodzimierz Ledóchowski in the holocausts and facist regimes of World War II.

But most importantly, Pope John Paul II knew of the assassination by General Pedro Arrupe of his predecessor Pope John Paul I.

General Pedro Arrupe was quickly informed and on May 13, 1981 arranged for the hiring of hitman Mehmet Ali Agca to kill the Pope. Immediately upon Ali Agca failing to kill the Pope, the agents of Arrupe sent the wounded Pontiff to the Roman hospital of Gemelli, rather than to the fully staffed special hospital unit nearby. At Gemelli under Jesuit control, the Pope was given tainted blood and contracted hepatitis.

During his tenure he was able to visit Jesuits and their works in all parts of the world. On August 7, 1981 after a long and tiring trip throughout the Far East he suffered a stroke.

The 33rd General Congregation was called to deal with the situation, viz, the resignation of Arrupe and the election of a successor. The Congregation was called by Father Paolo Dezza, the Pontifical Delegate, especially appointed by the Pope to assure that the Society be kept on course. There was a wave of resentment from some Jesuits at what was seemingly Papal interference in Jesuit affairs. However, reading these brief accounts of previous Generals, one might understand that it was quite a normal thing to do; and, the Pope was often unjustly maligned mostly through ignorance of the history of the Society.

Arrupe's resignation was accepted on September 3, 1983 during the Congregation and it proceeded to elect Father Peter-Hans Kolvenbach as General.

He finally died at the Curia on February 5, 1991 in his 84th year. His Generalate actually lasted for 18 years from his election until his resignation in 1983.

Most Evil Crimes

List of most evil crimes Type Year Crime Of Murder (political assassination) : (1978) That Jesuit Superior General Pedro Arrupe did arrange for the assassination of Pope John Paul I upon the revelation of the Pope intention to disband the Jesuit order and distribute their significant interests, including control of the Vatican Bank to other areas of the church. That Pope John Paul I intended to take this action in part because of the action of the Jesuits in both the assassination of John F. Kennedy, the Vietnam War, the global drug trade as well as Aldo Moro, a national Italian hero. That the murder of Pope John Paul I did prevent the disbanding of the Jesuits from taking place, but did result in a non-Jesuit friendly Pope being elected for the next 27 years.

Death and Legacy