Jesuits Mourn Adolfo Nicolás, S.J., Former Superior General

MISSION AND MINISTRY | Jesuits worldwide mourn the death of their former superior general, Adolfo Nicolás, S.J., who died on May 20 in Tokyo, Japan. Infectious humor, refreshing simplicity, clear insight and natural warmth have characterized Father Nicolás in his many roles and responsibilities.

Jesuits and collaborators across the world could relate to him as a leader and easily as a friend. Somehow, the roles of leadership to which he was called, including provincial of the Japanese Province (1993 – 1996), conference president for East Asia and Oceania (2004 – 2008) and later superior general (2008 – 2016), were a surprise to him. Yet he fulfilled each with a distinctive simplicity, grace and warmth. Considering that his health no longer allowed him to carry out his mission as he should have, he convened the 36th General Congregation during which he offered his resignation, according to the rules of the Society of Jesus, on Oct. 3, 2016. After having accepted it, the congregation elected the successor, Arturo Sosa, S.J.

Father Nicolás visited LMU in February 2009 and delivered the Mission Day address to a large gathering of the campus community in Sacred Heart Chapel. His topic was “Companions in Mission: Pluralism in Action,” and the talk was well received, especially his charming anecdote  recalled from his days in Tokyo about a Buddhist teacher in the Jesuit high school whose “mission and identity” commitment was questioned by some. In the end he proved to be a strong defender of Catholic identity and Jesuit mission – and was on his way to being chosen as headmaster.

Father Nicolás’ talk still challenges us today and invites us to draw even wider circles of inclusion as we work to advance our shared Jesuit, Marymount and Ignatian mission at LMU. The full text of Father Nicolas’ address, delivered at LMU on Feb. 02, 2009, may be found at