On the February 6th, Jesuit-run Arrupe College in Harare launched Arrupe College Day in honour of Fr. Pedro Arrupe, S.J. (1907-1991).

Fr. Arrupe was the 28th Superior General of the Society of Jesus who had extra-ordinary qualities as a Jesuit. He passed on on the February 5th in 1991. Starting this year, on the 5th of February or thereabout, the college will be holding the Arrupe College Day to celebrate his life, to honour him and to get to learn more about the man of great faith and works.

The inaugural Arrupe Day was magnificent and helped invited guests to understand Fr Arrupe the person, from his time as a student in Spain to the missionary work he did with much love in Japan. The day began with a talk on Fr. Arrupe by Fr. Augustine Karekezi, S.J. who is the Regional Superior of Rwanda-Burundi Region of the Society of Jesus. He was undergoing his formation in Rome when Fr Arrupe was the Superior General and also staying in Rome.

Fr Karekezi spoke of Fr. Arrupe’s unfortunate experiences in Japan that always brought him closer to God. First, Fr Arrupe was arrested whilst saying Mass and accused of being a spy in Japan. He spent a month in prison alone. The solitude helped him to focus and appreciate how God works in us when we are quiet and ‘lonely.’ There was also the Hiroshima attack that hit Japan in 1945, moving him to convert a Jesuit Novitiate into a hospital, caring for the sick without fear of nuclear radiation. He was to travel the world speaking about Hiroshima and God, but many people wondered how a man could speak about God after Hiroshima.

The talk was followed by the Holy Eucharist, a short moving video on Fr. Pedro Arrupe, and dinner. ‘They all ate and drank and twelve baskets full of leftovers were collected.’

Below, is one of Fr. Pedro Arrupe, S.J.’s prayers we can use in our prayers as well. Grant me, O Lord, to see everything now with new eyes, to discern and test the spirits. Lord, help me read the signs of times, to relish the things that are yours, and to communicate them to others. Give me the clarity of understanding that you gave Ignatius.