BY ISN STAFF | October 14, 2016
The 36th General Congregation of the Society of Jesus has elected Father Arturo Sosa Abascal, S.J., of the Venezuelan Province, Superior General.Father Arturo Sosa was born in Caracas, Venezuela, on November 12, 1948. He joined the Society of Jesus in 1966 and was ordained priest in 1977. Fr. Sosa earned degrees in Philosophy (Universidad Católica Andres Bello, Caracas), Theology (Gregorian University, Rome) and political Science (Universidad Central de Venezuela, Caracas). He was currently serving as the Delegate of the General for the International houses and Works of the Society of Jesus in Rome and served as provincial of the Jesuit Province of Venezuela from 1996 to 2004, and worked at Centro Gumilla, a Jesuit social research center in Venezuela from 1977 to 1996. Father Sosa speaks Spanish, Italian, English and understands French.
On October 3, 2016, the 36th General Congregation of the Society of Jesus voted to accept the resignation of Fr. Adolfo Nicolás, S.J., 30th Superior General of the Society since 2008. The vote to elect Fr. Sosa came after the murmuratio — four days of one-on-one private conversations for discernment designed to draw the Jesuit leadership into genuine dialogue about potential candidates void of individual campaigning.
As Superior General, Fr. Nicolás, a native of Spain, encouraged the “universal vocation” of the Jesuits, emphasizing the importance of a global perspective, the freedom and willingness to be of service in new locations and roles, and the necessity of service to and authentic relationship with those on the margins.
In recent history, General Congregation elections and documents have, at times, transformed the private and public lives of Jesuits worldwide. The 1965 election of Fr. Pedro Arrupe, S.J., 28th Superior General, at the 32nd General Congregation, initiated an era of significant revitalization of the Jesuit mission, particularly in light of shifts in the greater Catholic community following Vatican II. General Congregations 32 and 34, 30 years later, challenged the Jesuits to deepen and expand work for justice, particularly in service to the poor.
Jesuit General Congregation documents have influenced lay collaborators, including the Ignatian Solidarity Network. ISN’s Kim Miller recently talked about how the themes of General Congregations and 32 and 34 have been expressed in programs like the Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice and Arrupe Leaders Summits.
Recent Articles about Fr. Sosa:
New Jesuit General: “Not Only the Improbable, but the Impossible.” | America Magazine
Jesuits elect first Latin-American general | Crux: Taking the Catholic Pulse
Fr Sosa: Reconciliation and dialogue priorities for Jesuits | Vatican Radio
The Jesuits’ new five-star Latin-American general | Crux: Taking the Catholic Pulse
Fr. Tim Kesicki, S.J., President of the US/Canada Jesuit Conference, talks about the election of Fr. Arturo Sosa Abascal, S.J.: