Pedro Arrupe, SJ, was the 28th Superior General of the Society of Jesus, leading the Society in the realities of serving the Church and people in the post-Vatican II world. Arrupe was a man of great spiritual depth who was committed to justice.
Arrupe was born in the Basque region of Spain in 1907. After some years of medical training, Arrupe entered the Jesuits in 1927. In 1932, the Republican government in Spain expelled the Jesuits from the country. Arrupe continued his studies in Belgium, Holland, and the United States. After being ordained, Fr. Arrupe was sent to Japan in 1938. He hoped to work there as a missionary for the rest of his life.
After the December 7, 1941, bombing of Pearl Harbor, the Japanese security forces arrested Arrupe on suspicion of espionage. He was kept in solitary confinement. Arrupe described the privation and uncertainty he suffered as he waited for the disposition of his case. He missed celebrating the Eucharist most of all. In the midst of his suffering, Arrupe experienced a special moment of grace. On Christmas night, 1941, Arrupe heard a group of people gathering outside his cell door. He could not see them and wondered if the time of his execution had come...
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