On Wednesday 20 May, in Tokyo, the Lord called Fr. Adolfo Nicolás, S.I. to himself. Born in Palencia (Spain) on April 29, 1936, he entered the Society of Jesus on September 14, 1953. As a scholastic he was sent to the mission of Japan, where he was a professor of theology, rector of scholastics and provincials, dedicating himself following social work with immigrants in Tokyo. Ordained a priest on March 17, 1967, the following year Fr. Nicolás came to the Gregorian for his doctorate. He confided his memories of those years to our university magazine.
«They are very beautiful memories. It was the year 1968. We were many students at the Collegio di San Roberto Bellarmino and I remember with great pleasure the time spent in the magnificent Library and that of the lessons. At that time, five courses were required for the Doctorate. I followed the lessons of Fr. Alfaro, Fr. Alzeghy and two or three courses of the Biblical, which was very useful to me. It was possible to choose courses among the various institutes, remember those of Fr. de la Potterie and Fr. Lyonnet.
I found the exchange with other students from other countries very interesting. The greatest memory is precisely the enrichment that came from internationality. Even in Japan, where I had studied and I had been there for seven years, there was internationality, but at the Gregorian University it has a different character. In Japan it was addressed to Japan itself, to the Gregorian there is an internationality with an orientation towards the world, it has no boundaries.
Everyone comes with his ties to the country of origin, his culture, his pastoral situations and comes to study and bring something to the Gregorian. Meeting students and Jesuits from other countries was a truly enriching experience for me. […] It was a very intense time of study, I think it is the one in which I studied the most, without taking any holidays, or letting myself go to other distractions. I remember walking only on Sundays».
For ten years Fr. Nicolás lived in the Philippines, as director of the Institute for Pastoral Care of East Asia (EAPI) and as president of the Conference of Provincials of East Asia and Oceania. On January 19, 2008 the 35th General Congregation elected him as General Superior of the Society of Jesus, and therefore Vice Grand Chancellor of the Pontifical Gregorian University. Eight years later, on October 3, 2016, General Congregation 36 accepted his resignation. He was later spiritual director of EAPI and the Arrupe International Residence in Manila.
We invite you to reread his last speech at the Gregorian University (March 14, 2014) on the occasion of the conference celebrated with Sophia University (Tokyo): https://www.unigre.it/sito/PUG_HG_03O820150936/web/LaGregoriana/47_25_evento_Nicolas_Sophia_University_v2_it.pdf