The Jesuits mourn the passing of former Superior General
The Jesuit General Curia in Rome 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.
Fr. Franck Janin, President of the Jesuit Conference of European Provincials, shared this message in thanksgiving for Fr Adolfo Nicolás’ life.
Father Adolfo Nicolas has returned to the Father. In fact he never left Him. Shortly after his election I had the chance to meet him. He made a strong impression on me that has always remained: that of a cordial and accessible man, deeply humble and rooted in God.
I am not surprised that he so often stressed the importance of depth and wisdom for our contemporary world, for the Church and the Society of Jesus. Two words which, for me, stay associated with his memory.
Faced with what he called "the globalization of superficiality" he never ceased to call for depth. Spiritual depth. He wondered why the Spiritual Exercises did not transform us more. He also said that if we were to overloaded by all our activities it was because perhaps we had not sufficiently multiple opinions that are expressed, he advocated the need for a view of the world and a reflection that takes time for analysis and discernment in order to judge in truth. And he liked to emphasize the role of the Ignatian imagination "a creative process that goes to the depth of reality and begins recreating it”.
For Father Nicholas, this need for depth at the heart of our contemporary world indicated another aspiration: that of rediscovering the importance of wisdom. Wisdom is what allows us to "find God in all things". It allows us to find Him present in our daily life, in our work and in our relationships, but also in the other, in the stranger, the one who is different in culture, in religion and also in the one who does not profess any faith. The call to go to the frontiers or to the peripheries, which is part of the mission of the Society of Jesus and which the Popes have often reminded us of, requires that wisdom that listens to divine music at the heart of reality.
Fr. Adolfo Nicolás was born in Villamuriel de Cerrato, 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 Asia Pacific. He was elected Superior General of the Society of Jesus at its 35th General Congregation in Rome on 19 January 2008 and he renounced in November 2016 being the 30th General Superior of the Society of Jesus. After his time in Rome he decided to go back to Philippines, and finaly to his belowed Japan.
- REST IN PEACE -