Saturday marks the 20th anniversary of the death of Jesuit Father General Pedro Arrupe. Fr. Arrupe led the Society of Jesus through the tumultuous decades of the 1960s and 1970s when both society and the Church were experiencing a tremendous period change.
Arrupe’s legacy of social justice and working for the disenfranchised has resonance today, almost three decades after he resigned as superior general of the Jesuits when he was debilitated by a stroke. Considered one of the most profound leaders of the Jesuits since St. Ignatius of Loyola, Arrupe has been called “The Second Founder” of the Society of Jesus.
In the spirit of St. Ignatius, who 450 years earlier rejected a monastic lifestyle to follow a spirituality engaged in the world, Arrupe leaves a legacy that enriches not only Jesuits, but the Church, at large. It is a legacy of “men and women for others,” comitted to human dignity, the common good and the Jesuit mission defined as the service of faith and the promotion of justice.
Jesuit Father Vincent O’Keefe served as one of Arrupe’s assistants in Rome for the entire 18 years that Arrupe served as superior general of the Jesuits. Now 92, Fr. O’Keefe reflects on the mark that Arrupe left on the Society of Jesus in the video piece below.