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Description of the Event:

As part of the University’s commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the death of the 6 Jesuit priests and their housekeeper and her daughter on the grounds of the University of Central America, we are pleased to invite Fr. Fernando Cardenal, S.J., to share his story: My Life as a Jesuit Priest in the Nicaraguan Revolution and Reflections on the Jesuit Martyrs.

Fr. Cardenal (born in 1934 in Granada, Nicaragua) is a living example of the kind of advocacy and active commitment to the poor that can lead to the ultimate consequence of martyrdom as it did for the UCA martyrs. His lifelong commitment to the poor and the oppressed began as a young Jesuit living among the poor in Medellín, Colombia and has lasted throughout his Jesuit life, despite repeated requests from Rome that he refrain for political activity and advocacy throughout the Nicaraguan revolution against the Somoza dictatorship. In the years following the revolution, Fr. Cardenal lead the Nicaguan Literacy Campaign and served as the Minister of Education (1984-1990).

As a consequence of his commitment to live in solidarity with the poor and his refusal to abandon his work, Fr. Cardenal was dismissed from the Jesuits only to be reinstated years later. He remains an active priest and companion of the poor and works tirelessly in support of the Fe y Alegria schools which provide education for the poorest of the poor in Nicaragua and throughout Central and South America.

October 14, 2016 — Father Arturo Sosa Abascal, S.J., of Venezuela was elected the 31st Superior General of the Society of Jesus at the Jesuits’ General Congregation 36 (GC 36) today in Rome. Fr. Sosa is the first Latin American Superior General of the Society of Jesus, the largest religious order of priests and brothers in the Catholic Church.

Fr. Sosa, Delegate of the General for the International Houses and Works of the Society of Jesus in Rome, was elected by 212 Jesuit electors at the General Congregation, the supreme governing body of the Society, which is currently being held at the Jesuit Curia, the Society’s headquarters in Rome. He succeeds Father Adolfo Nicolás, SJ, 80, who resigned last week after serving as Superior General since 2008.

Click here to visit the Jesuit homepage to learn more

Click here to read a related article from the online journal Crux

Click here to read an informative news blog

General Congregation 36

What is a General Congregation?

General Congregations are the supreme legislative body of the Society of Jesus consisting of major (“provincial”) superiors and locally elected representatives. It is called to elect a new superior general when the previous one dies or resigns and/or to address major issues confronting Jesuit works and Jesuit life. There have been 35 such congregations in the more than 450 years of the order. The most recent General Congregation met from January to March 2008 to accept Peter-Hans Kolvenbach’s resignation at age 80 and to elect his replacement, Adolfo Nicolás. (

The Jesuit’s Communications Committee provides three suggestions of how to “participate” in General Congregation 36:

Subscription to the GC 36 newsletter

  • The Committee invites all Jesuits, the staff in our works, the members of groups associated to the Society in our province to subscribe to the GC 36 Bulletin. It is easy to do by visiting the homepage of the Congregation at (Newsletter – Subscription – Make sure to choose your language first, top right corner, before subscribing). Be aware that subscriptions are open but that the website will be fully operational only in September.

Distribution of the newsletter and promotion of social media accesses

  • The Committee invites our contacts to befriend the GC 36 Facebook page and use the Twitter feed. A link to the variety of social media outlets can be found at the bottom of All of you are important collaborators in our efforts to publicize the life of the Congregation.

Promotion and the Use of the Oratory

  • The Committee asks that we promote and use the Oratory, the virtual “prayer room” ( – click on “prayer room”). There you will find the daily prayers used in the aula by the Congregation members. Inspiring photos and videos to accompany your prayer will also be proposed. Moreover, the oratory will be open to receive the prayers from our audience, prayers that people can suggest for the members of GC 36 and for all those who will want to be associated with them through prayer.

Prayer for General Congregation 36:

God our Father, almighty and merciful, You sent Your Son Jesus, Your living Word,
to save the human race by His life, death, and resurrection,
and You send Your Holy Spirit to inspire and accompany Your pilgrim Church on earth.

With confidence, we pray for the Society that bears the name of Jesus:
Grant the 36th General Congregation openness to hear your Spirit
so that we may live for the greater glory of your name,
faithful to our history and the example of the saints who have gone before us.

Give us the spirit to serve beneath the banner of the Cross on behalf of Your Church,
a profound love for the world You have created and entrusted to Your people,
the grace to see with Your eyes the beauty and suffering of our sisters and brothers,
hearts that beat in union with Your heart, loving You and serving You in all things.
We ask all this through Jesus, the Savior who sets us free. Amen.

Mary, Mother of the Society of Jesus, intercede for us.

All you Saints of the Society, pray for us.

– Father Severin Leitner, S.J.

Stay tuned for program opportunities to discuss the significance of this historic event.

Fr. Kolvenbach, SJ-RIP

Father Peter-Hans Kolvenbach,S.J., 29th Superior General of the Society of Jesus, died in Beirut, Lebanon, on November 26, 2016, at the age of 87. Born in the Netherlands, he entered the Society of Jesus in 1948 and served in a variety of posts before being elected Superior General in 1983. As Superior General, Fr. Kolvenbach directed the Jesuits’ General Congregation 34 in 1995, which addressed a variety of contemporary issues, including the mission of the Society in the modern world.

In October 2000, Fr. Kolvenbach delivered what became one of his signature addresses at the Justice Conference at Santa Clara University entitled, “The Service of Faith and the Promotion of Justice.” He issued a challenge that continues to inspire Jesuit schools like John Carroll to this day: “Students, in the course of their formation, must let the gritty reality of this world into their lives, so they can learn to feel it, think about it critically, respond to its suffering and engage it constructively. They should learn to perceive, think, judge, choose and act for the rights of others, especially the disadvantaged and the oppressed.”

John Carroll University was honored to host Fr. Kolvenbach on October 4-5, 2006 during his visit to the United States and the Detroit Province. Fr. Niehoff and the Jesuit Community welcomed the Father General to campus, where members of the JCU Board of Directors were joined by Board Members from other Jesuit apostolates in the Province, together with some JCU faculty and staff, to meet and hear from Fr. Kolvenbach. Read more about this historic visit in John Carroll Magazine.

In February 2006, Fr. Kolvenbach informed the members of the Society of Jesus of his intention, with the consent of Pope Benedict XVI, to step down. His resignation was accepted at General Congregation 35 in 2008. To read more about this inspirational leader of the Society of Jesus, click here to or visit the U.S. Jesuit’s official website

Tribute to Rev. Howard Gray, S.J. RIP

The John Carroll University community mourns the passing of Rev. Howard Gray, S.J., who passed away on May 7, 2018, at St. Joseph Mercy Oakland in Pontiac, Michigan, of complications from a car accident. He was 87 years old. Beloved in the John Carroll community, Fr. Gray was a Cleveland, Ohio native. He was born on May 23, 1930, graduated from St. Ignatius High School in 1948, and entered the Society of Jesus at Milford, Ohio, on July 24, 1948. He was ordained at Colombiere Center in 1961.

Following his theological studies, Fr. Gray made his tertianship at St. Beuno’s in North Wales under the famed Peter Paul Kennedy. He spent two years at Colombiere College and served as acting dean from 1963 until 1965. He completed graduate studies at the University of Wisconsin where he was a Knapp Fellow, and then served as Formation Director for the Detroit Province and Rector at Loyola House, Berkley. In the early 1980’s, he was rector of the Jesuit School of Theology in Cambridge; he was also appointed as the dean for a year. He was named provincial of what was then the Detroit Province in 1983, and in 1985, was elected the Vice President of the Major Superiors (CMSM). At the age of 66, Howard left internal governance and formation work in the Society and became the first Director of the Center for Ignatian Spirituality at Boston College (1996-2001).

Over the years, Fr. Gray has served John Carroll University in many ways. He touched many lives and made a number of significant contributions at the University and across the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AJCU) network. A few highlights are listed below:

  • Commencement Speaker in May 1988 while serving as the Provincial of the Detroit Province (1983-1989)
  • Commencement Speaker and Recipient of an Honorary Doctorate in Theology in May1999 while serving as Director of the Center for Ignatian Spirituality at Boston College
  • Rector of the Jesuit Community from 2001-2007
  • Special Assistant to the President for Mission and Identity and Founder of the Office of Mission and Identity 2001-2007
  • Principle Author of the John Carroll University Catholicity Statement developed over two years (2004-2006)
  • Instructor and Spiritual Director (2001-2007)
  • Founder of the Magis National Faculty Retreat, initially held at John Carroll (2003 and 2004)
  • Member of the Board of Directors (2005-2014)

Upon leaving John Carroll in 2007, he became assistant to the president for special projects at Georgetown University, a post he held until 2017. Since July 2017 he had been at the Manresa Jesuit Retreat House, in Bloomfield Hills.

Early in his Jesuit life, Howard was one of a group of Jesuits and lay people who helped bring back the one-on-one personally directed retreat. Throughout his seven decades as a Jesuit, he received six honorary doctorates, lectured extensively, and authored more than 60 articles and essays on Ignatian Spirituality, ministry, and the apostolic mission of Jesuit high schools and universities. Father Gray has lectured and taught courses in Eastern Africa, the United Kingdom, and Ireland.

In Memoriam – Fr. Howard Gray, S.J., 1930-2018 — Conversations