Father Nicolás was not a “public figure”. He was a
discreet man who did not seek media attention. In his meetings with his Jesuit
companions, he was very simple and accessible. This was the case throughout his
apostolic life in Asia, in Japan and in the Philippines. Even during his
generalate, he did not usually put himself in the spotlight. This humility
certainly served the Society of Jesus in its relations with the Vatican and
with the local Churches, where the Society participates in the one mission of
God and the Church.
Adolfo Nicolás resigned as Superior General of the
Society of Jesus in 2016, realizing that his health condition did not allow him
to assume the heavy task of animating the Society universally. His physical
health had been unsteady ever since. One would have thought that his death on
20 May would go relatively unnoticed, that his departure from this world to
eternal life would be marked by great discretion.
However, this was not the case. The communications
team of the General Curia was able to identify a fair number of public
reactions. Published in various communication channels, from print to social
media, they highlight the importance of Father Nicolás’ contribution not only
for the Society of Jesus and the Jesuits, but also for religious life and for
Unsurprisingly, the media of the Society of
Jesus, its Conferences, Provinces and institutions paid special attention to
the former General’s passing.
Aggiornamenti Sociali, America and The
Tablet, for example, did not simply mention the death of Father Nicolás,
but took the opportunity to recall important themes in his teachings. The
importance that the former Superior General gave to the intellectual apostolate
and the theme of “depth” in religious life and in all that should mark
Christianity today were highlighted.