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, visit the U.S. Jesuit’s official website. Campus Ministry will share details about a campus Mass for the repose of his soul once the Jesuit curia in Rome determines his funeral arrangements.