Pedro Arrupe SJ

Pedro Arrupe SJ.

This icon has been commissioned in honor of the Jesuit Refugee Service which celebrates its 40th Anniversary on Pedro Arrupe’s birthday November 14th. Pedro Arrupe was a Spanish Jesuit priest who served as the twenty-eighth Superior General of the Society of Jesus (1965–83) and the founder of JRS. He led the Jesuits in the implementation of the Second Vatican Council, especially with regard to a faith that does justice and care for the poor.

In this icon I tried to create a clear likeness with Arrupe's jovial spirit contrasted with him holding the Christ child who has a wound that has been mended which was very much inspired by this quote from him: 

"Without a doubt Christian love of neighbor entails a duty to care for the wounds of those that have fallen victim to robbers and are left bleeding by the wayside."

While preparing this icon I was floored by Arrupe's experience in Hiroshima, Japan. He was living in suburban Hiroshima when the atomic bomb fell in August 1945. Arrupe was one of eight Jesuits who were within the blast zone of the bomb, and all eight survived the destruction. Father Arrupe used his medical skills to help those who were wounded or dying after the Jesuit novitiate was converted into a makeshift hospital.

Many american christians forget or are oblivious to the fact that when America bombed Japan and Iraq, ( which in itself is horrible enough) they were killing fellow Christians.

In 1979 Arrupe saw the refugees on boats in Vietnam, and sent a call to some 20 Jesuit major superiors throughout the world sharing his distress at the suffering of these people, which subsequently founded JRS. I am inspired by Arrupe's presence and attentiveness to the most vulnerable wherever he was, and yet, also to the “little ones” and the refugees hurting across the globe. In 2017 JRS listed 47 countries where its 10 regional offices were currently serving nearly 950,000 individuals. Over the years JRS had served an estimated 40 million refugees.

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