Today we remember the life of Fr. Pedro Arrupe, S.J., who died on February 5, 1991. Arrupe’s legacy as Superior General of the Society of Jesus continues to influence many in our world. Refugees who receive support by the staff of Jesuit Refugee Service across the globe, Jesuit university students who will take part in an international immersion experiences this coming spring break, and Jesuit high school students who become “Committed to Doing Justice” as part of their “Grad at Grad” statement. For the work of the Ignatian Solidarity Network, it seems like there is not a day that goes by where we don’t encounter a reference to some part of Fr. Arrupe’s writing or thought in our work — “men and women for others”, “contemplatives in action”, and most notably “the service of faith and the promotion of justice” are just a few phrases that define so much of what the Ignatian Solidarity Network is and strives to be.
In an effort to hear some tangible results of Fr. Arrupe’s influence, I asked a few students and alumni of John Carroll University who have been part of the university’s social justice scholarship program named after Fr. Arrupe, to reflect on the influence his life story has made on them. Here are a few responses:
“For me personally, Arrupe is an inspiration and a spiritual director. His life story, his passionate writing, his spirituality, his mission have laid the ground on which I now walk. Arrupe is one of those people who truly lived. He was a visionary, a person who stood up for what he believed in and a person who faithfully discerned God’s call in his life. And in a world plagued by mass media, poverty, warfare, technology and injustice Arrupe is a beacon of light. Arrupe has called me to live in that same light of optimism, vision and faith. It is in that light where I know walk.” -Natalie Terry, Class of 2010
“Fr. Arrupe represents an ideal that we as students at a Jesuit University, and more importantly, as human beings, strive for: to live for and with one another in an attempt to create a lasting change on the world.” -Jeff Hatgas, Class of 2012
“My desire to live a life for others has been greatly enhanced through my education and experiences of faith and social justice inspired by Fr. Arrupe. I have been “ruined” for life.” -Sadie Curtin, Class of 2013
“Fr. Arrupe was an advocate for social justice and solidarity and is an example of what I aspire to be.” -Esther D’Mello, Class of 2013
“He has been an example of how to live my life. He challenged the Jesuits to look at education in a new way and allowed them to create an experience for students that was a fuller realization of our faith. For me, he represents a call to action.” -Jon Hatgas, Class of 2012
How has Fr. Arrupe influenced you?