Fr. Arturo Sosa, SJ, Elected 31st Superior General of the Society of Jesus

 

October 14, 2016 

Father Arturo Sosa Abascal, SJ, 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.

Fr. Sosa was born in Caracas, Venezuela, on November 12, 1948. He entered the Society of Jesus in September 1966 and was ordained a priest in 1977. He holds a bachelor's degree in philosophy from the Catholic University Andrés Bello in Caracas, a bachelor’s degree in theology from the Gregorian University in Rome and a doctorate in political science from the Universidad Central de Venezuela. He was provincial superior of the Society of Jesus in Venezuela from 1996 to 2004. Fr. Sosa speaks Spanish, Italian and English and understands French.

Prior to his appointment as provincial, he was in charge of the social apostolate of the Jesuits in Venezuela, which includes the Jesuit network of schools for the poor, Fe y Alegría. He was also head of the Centro Gumilla, the Jesuit-run social and action research center. Among his distinguished academic posts, he has served as a member of the founding board of the Andrés Bello Catholic University in Caracas and rector of the Catholic University of Táchira. He has taught and researched political science in many different institutes and colleges, and in 2004 was a visiting professor at the Latin-American Studies Center of Georgetown University. Fr. Sosa, only the 31st Superior General in the Society’s 476-year history, now leads the 16,740 Jesuits worldwide. This includes about 12,000 priests; 1,300 brothers; 2,700 scholastics; and 753 novices.