Superior General to submit resignation at 2016 General Congregation

Father Adolfo Nicolás SJ, who has been Superior General of the Jesuits (the Society of Jesus) since 2008, has announced his intention to resign. Having recently reached the age of 78, Fr Nicolás says he has received the approval of his advisers (Assistants) and has informed Pope Francis that he intends to convoke a General Congregation for the latter part of 2016. That will be occasion when his resignation will be formally submitted and his successor will be elected.

In a letter to the entire Society of Jesus, dated 20 May 2014, Fr Nicolás wrote: “Reflecting on the coming years, I have reached the personal conviction that I should take the needed steps towards submitting my resignation to a General Congregation.” He continued that he would therefore convoke the 36th General Congregation towards the end of this year, with a view to it taking place during the final months of 2016.

Fr Nicolás recently visited the Jesuits of Guyana – a Region of the British Province – when he was en route to Mexico (read more). He is due in London next month when he will attend part of the celebrations to mark the 400th anniversary of the founding of Heythrop College, University of London (read more).

A full ministry

Adolfo Nicolás was born in Villamuriel de Cerrato, Palencia, Spain, on 29 April 1936 and entered the Jesuit novitiate of Aranjuez in 1953. He studied at the University of Alcalá, where he earned his licentiate in philosophy. In 1960, he was assigned to Japan where he studied theology at Sophia University in Tokyo. He was ordained to the priesthood on 17 March 1967.

From 1968 to 1971, Fr Nicolás studied at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, from where he earned a doctorate in theology. Upon his return to Japan, he was made professor of systematic theology at Sophia University, teaching there for the next 30 years.

Fr Nicolás was appointed Director of the East Asian Pastoral Institute at the Ateneo de Manila University in Quezon City, Philippines, in 1978 – a post he held for six years. He then went on to serve as rector of the theologate in Tokyo before being appointed as the Jesuit Provincial of Japan. Following his term of office as Provincial, Fr Nicolás remained in Japan, doing pastoral work among poor immigrants in Tokyo.

In 2004, Fr Nicolás returned to the Philippines after he was appointed President of the Jesuit Conference of Provincials for Eastern Asia and Oceania. A native Spanish speaker, Fr Nicolás is also fluent in Catalan, English, Italian, French, and Japanese. He was elected Superior General of the Society of Jesus at its 35th General Congregation in Rome on 19 January 2008.

PHOTO: Fr Nicolás promises to serve the Society following his election as Superior General of the Society of Jesus at its 35th General Congregation in Rome, 2008.