Dear Alumna, dear Alumnus,
2016 was a year of Generals, three Generals of the Society of Jesus.
The first went from office after eight years at the helm of the Society. Adolfo Nicolas had become Præpositus generalis in 2008, succeeding Father Kolvenbach. He resigned at the last General Congregation (the 36th), on 3 October 2016. Born in Spain in 1936, he had spent most of his career in Asia, especially in Japan.
We want to thank him for his assistance to WUJA, but above all for his contribution to the Society of Jesus and to the Church. He particularly insisted on social justice and all Asia had to offer to the Church.
The second one came into office a few days later than the resignation of Nicolas. On 14 October 2016, Father Arturo Sosa was elected 31st General of the Society. Born in Venezuela in 1948 and a renowned specialist of social and political questions, he is expected to lead the Society like his predecessors in the direction of the service of Faith, promotion of Justice and intellectual formation.
We wish him much success in taking up the challenges the Society is confronted with. And we offer him the support of WUJA.
The third one, Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, went back to the house of the Father on the 26th of November 2016, eight years after having resigned from his office of Father General. His tenure as general was one of the longest in the history of the Jesuits, 25 years, from 1983 to 2008. Born in the Netherlands in 1928, he became the first of the Jesuits at a very difficult time and was able to stabilize the Society in its relationship with the Vatican fater the tumultuous years of the Arrupe era. By retiring, he paved the way to what is going to become the rule for Jesuit generals, … and popes ! He went back to his studies on oriental christianity.
As 2016 draws to a close, we praise the first, we encourage the second and we remember the third of these three Generals. We thank God for blessing the Society with people like them, showing a direction, not only for the Jesuits, but also for their Alumni and Alumnæ.
In our difficult world, may the peace of Christmas engulf us all in its peace, its message of joy, its way of hope.
And may 2017 be a great year for you and your families.
World Union of Jesuit Alumni