Venezuelan elected as new Jesuit superior general

Venezuelan Jesuit Fr. Arturo Sosa Abascal is the Society of Jesus’s new superior general. He is the Society’s first non-European to lead the order.

The 212 voting delegates to the Jesuit general congregation elected Sosa , who is 67. His election was held during the order’s 36th general congregation early this month.

The delegates represent the more than 16,000 Jesuits around the world.

Sosa succeeds Fr. Adolfo Nicolas, 80, who had asked to resign because of his age.

The Society informed Pope Francis – who is a Jesuit – of Sosa’s election before it was made public.

Sosa said delegates, who come from around the world, share a common culture linked to their experience of the Ignatian spiritual exercises and practices of discernment.

“We have a long tradition and a strong desire to listen to the same voice, that is the voice of the Holy Spirit,” he said.

Sosa was born in Caracas, Nov. 12, 1948. He joined the Jesuits in 1966 and was ordained in 1977.

Before the election, he was Nicolas’ delegate for the Society’s international houses. He works in Rome.

Sosa has a doctorate in political science from the Universidad Central de Venezuela.

He also speaks Spanish, Italian, English and understands French.

After the election, the Jesuit gathering’s focus moved to questions of Jesuit identity and governance, vocations, mission and collaboration with the laity.


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