By James T. Keane, America Magazine
July 12, 2018 — St. Pedro Arrupe, S.J.? Jesuit Superior
General Arturo Sosa, S.J., suggested that possibility yesterday, announcing in
Bilbao, Spain, that: “We have formally begun the process of beatification for
Father Pedro Arrupe.” That is according to a story in InfoSJ,
an information website of the Society of Jesus in Spain, first reported in
English-language social media by Rhina Guidos of
Catholic News Service.
“We are still at the beginning of the process, but Angelo de
Donatis, the Cardinal Vicar of Rome has given the diocese of Rome approval to
open the process of beatification,” Father Sosa announced. He was “a man of
truth rooted in Christ and dedicated to mission,” Father Sosa said, “whose
greatest miracle is that we are here today.”
The process by which the Catholic Church declares that
someone is a saint is a multi-step one, concluding with canonization. Father
Arrupe is already called a “Servant of God.” Beatification, the declaration by
the Catholic Church that the person is “Blessed,” is the last step before
canonization in the normal sequence. (Father Arrupe has not yet been publicly
declared "Venerable" by the Vatican, a step before beatification.)
This latest news means, in essence, that the Society of Jesus is committing its
resources to moving ahead with the canonization process, such as collecting testimony
from those who knew Father Arrupe and soliciting proof of miracles that took
place after prayers for his intercession. Historically such miracles have often
been considered the result of the prayers
of people asking for the saint’s intercession.
The Jesuits will also probably appoint an official
postulator for his cause if they have not already done so.
Father Arrupe served as superior general of the Society of
Jesus from 1965 to 1983. Born in 1907, he entered the Jesuits in 1927. He was
ordained in 1936 and moved to Japan in 1938 to work as a missionary. He died on
Feb. 5, 1991.
His influence on the Society of Jesus can be seen in the
countless apostolates, residences and other Jesuit initiatives (as well as
those embracing the Ignatian charism) that bear his name today, as well as in
the many phrases and sayings attributed to him (not all correctly). His famous
1973 address to Jesuit educators and students, “Men for Others,”
has become a central guiding document for Jesuit education today.
Perhaps equally as famous is Arrupe’s humble “Hands of God” speech.
“More than ever I find myself in the hands of God. This is what I have wanted
all my life from my youth,” Arrupe wrote. “But now there is a difference; the
initiative is entirely with God. It is indeed a profound spiritual experience
to know and feel myself so totally in God’s hands.”
Read more about Arrupe’s life: Society of Jesus
Remembers Fr. Pedro Arrupe, SJ, on the 25th Anniversary of his Death
Read about the founding of Jesuit Refugee Service: “We Wish to be
Companions” — How Fr. Pedro Arrupe, SJ, Founded JRS in 1980