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|Father Pedro Arrupe
Jesuit missionary to Japan
Pedro Arrupe was born in Bilbao, Spain, on November 14, 1907, the son of the founder of La Gaceta del Norte, an influential Roman Catholic newspaper. He studied medicine at the University of Madrid for a time, but left to enter the Jesuit order in 1927. After the Spanish government expelled the Jesuits in 1932, he continued his studies in Belgium, the Netherlands, and the United States. He was ordained at St. Mary's Seminary (in Kansas) in 1936, and was sent to Japan in 1938.
Father Arrupe was living in Nagatsuka, a suburb of Hiroshima, when the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the latter city, on August 4, 1945. He and his colleagues were among the very first "rescuers" to reach the ruined city, and he was able to use his limited medical training to provide immediate care to about 150 victims. He and his brothers also provided shelter and other relief for survivors.
Father Arrupe was serving as Superior of the Jesuits' Japanese Province when, on May 22, 1965, he was elected Superior General of the Society of Jesus. In thatcapacity he led the Jesuits through a period when liberal positions taken by many members of the order, the largest in Roman Catholicism, stirred repeated controversies and conflict with the papacy.
Father Arrupe suffered a debilitating stroke in 1981, and was forced to resignas Superior General in 1983. He died in Rome, Italy, on February 5, 1991.
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This page was last updated on November 21, 2017.