The Pedro Arrupe Institute in Palermo: another work inspired by Fr Arrupe

14 November is the anniversary of the birth of Father Pedro Arrupe (1907). The date provides an opportunity to take stock once again of all that this former Superior General of the Jesuits - an exemplary religious whose beatification process is in train - inspired in terms of his commitment to the Church and to the world. The Pedro Arrupe Institute of Political Formation in Palermo, Sicily (Italy), is an example of this influence.

In many countries around the world, politics has a negative press. Worse still, it carries the image of an institution tainted by corruption, personal ambition and populist manipulation. Against this backdrop, young people with ideals for a better society have little inclination to involve themselves in politics. Yet politics continues to have a major influence on people’s lives. If good people do not get involved, the field is left wide open for those who pursue politics for personal interests rather than for the common good.


The Pedro Arrupe Institute for Political Formation focusses to this issue. The Institute defines itself precisely as promoting a “passion for the common good”. It is part of that broad movement of social centres of the Society of Jesus which offers a variety of programmes which combine ethical rigour with a high-quality professional formation. The very name - Pedro Arrupe - recognizes and refers to the ideals of service to the faith and the promotion of justice which the former General emphasised and which remain at the heart of Jesuit commitment today.

Formation, research and social action are the three pillars of the Institute. More concretely, these dimensions are core to its GenerAzioni project, an inter-generational work process for people aged between 18 and 55 who want to generate community processes of change. These people will learn together and influence each other. They aim to bring out the positive in agreements and disagreements, in continuity and discontinuity, in the present and the past. Ultimately, taking part in GenerAzioni encourages people to work together to develop avenues which encourage social and political commitment.


The phrase “way of proceeding” is a very Ignatian expression which implies primarily the paradigm of generativity. How may we understand generativity? It is a fresh way of thinking and acting, both personally and collectively, which opens us up to action that is socially oriented, creative, connected, productive and responsible, capable of having a positive impact on the ways we produce, innovate, live in, care for, organise and invest in society.

Another element of the “way of proceeding”, typically linked to the Jesuit tradition, is the Ignatian pedagogical paradigm. It considers education not primarily as the imparting and acquisition of knowledge, but rather as an environment which develops the whole person with a specific view towards his or her involvement in the various spheres of society: this includes the world of politics.


The Pedro Arrupe Institute looks to the future. Fr Giovanni Notari, its director, states: “We need to develop a passion for politics, for dialogue on the major issues of the contemporary world, on our history, and on our desire to form the future. This is the way for us to speak to the up and coming generation and, more generally, to anyone who has become disillusioned with our times. If change is to be truly positive, it must go beyond self-referential and individualistic thinking. We aim to bring together all the vital forces and life-giving experiences that, all too often, do not yet cohere in an integrated whole.”

This way of thinking and acting tackles the growing gap between civil society and politics. It is a big challenge, but our societies need this kind of investment in their future. It is a project with which the name of Father Pedro Arrupe can be fittingly associated, because it involves creating the conditions in which Gospel values and the ideals of social justice meet.

Fr Pedro Arrupe

Take a look at the memorial website!

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Posted by Communications Office - Editor in Curia Generalizia
Communications Office
The Communications Office of the General Curia publishes news of international scope on the central government of the Society of Jesus and on the commitments of the Jesuits and their partners. It also handles media relations.

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