Jesuits mourn the passing of former Superior General

“A man of grace and wisdom, simple, unpretentious, dedicated”

The Jesuit General Curia in Rome today announced that former Superior General, Fr. Adolfo Nicolás died, today, in Tokyo, Japan. He was a member of the Jesuit community of Loyola House in Kamishakujii, and had been ill for a number of years.  He is deeply mourned by the Jesuits of Japan and Asia Pacific, his family and compatriots in Spain, and his many friends around the world.

“I offer my sincere condolences to the Jesuit province of Japan, to Fr. Nicolas’ family, to the Jesuits in Spain and the Philippines and to his many friends all around the world.” said Fr. Arturo Sosa, current Superior General. “Fr. Nicolás gave of himself throughout his life.  It was a life marked by intense service, calm availability and a deep ability to inculturate in Japan, where he went as a young Jesuit.  It was a culture he loved dearly and to which he committed himself. His time as General was marked by his sense of humour, his courage, his humility and his close relationship with Pope Francis.  All of us here at the Jesuit General Curia mourn him and a special Mass will be offered here in Rome as soon as we can organise it. Because of travel restrictions just now, I cannot travel to Japan for the funeral but I assure all his many friends there of my closeness, my compassion and my condolences.”

All who worked with Fr Nicolás in the General Curia have appreciated greatly his presence during his time as General. “He will be greatly mourned throughout the Society as a wise, humble and dedicated Jesuit, a man of grace and wisdom, simple, unpretentious.” said Fr Sosa.

He had a strong relationship with Pope Benedict and close and warm bonds with Pope Francis.

“The Society was founded to serve the Lord alone and the Church His spouse under the Roman Pontiff” said Fr Sosa. “Fr. Nicolás helped the Society to live in a concrete way this dimension so characteristic of our charism. It was a relationship of availability to the Holy Father which was also full of sincere affection”.

A memorial mass will be celebrated in Rome in the Church of Gesù at a date to be determined.  Social distancing rules will apply. Details to follow.

“The Jesuits, collaborators and friends of the Conference of Africa and Madagascar mourn the death of our beloved Father Adolfo Nicolás SJ. May his soul rest in peace. We remember him as a wise and caring leader, steeped in our foundational spirituality and imbued with a clarity of apostolic vision. His gift of deep spirituality, apostolic creativity, and intellectual depth will continue to inspire Jesuits and partners in the mission of the Society of Jesus across the world. Among the many acts of generosity and solicitude for the mission of the Society of Jesus in Africa and Madagascar, the Jesuit Historical Institute in Africa stands as a lasting legacy of his visionary and inspirational leadership. May the Risen Christ welcome Baba Nico into eternity. Amen.” – Fr  Agbonkhianmeghe E. Orobator SJ

Further resources

  • An audio recording of a prayer composed by Fr Nicolás is available HERE

Lord Jesus, What weaknesses did you see in us that made you decide to call us, in spite of everything, to collaborate in your mission? We give you thanks for having called us, and we beg you not to forget your promise to be with us to the end of time. Frequently we are invaded by the feeling of having worked all night in vain, forgetting, perhaps, that you are with us. We ask that you make yourself present in our lives and in our work, today, tomorrow, and in the future yet to come. Fill with your love these lives of ours, which we put at your service. Take from our hearts the egoism of thinking about what is “ours,” what is “mine”, always excluding, lacking compassion and joy. Enlighten our minds and our hearts, and do not forget to make us smile when things do not go as we wished. At the end of the day, of each one of our days, make us feel more united with you and better able to perceive and discover around us greater joy and greater hope. We ask all this from our reality. We are weak and sinful men, but we are your friends. Amen.

Image: Washing of the Feet
A work of the Centro Aletti atelier of Art and Architecture, Monastery of the Carmelites, Snagov, Romania.
Curia Generalizia, Roma.

  • The letter of Fr Sosa to the whole Society of Jesus is available HERE


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