Peter Hans Kolvenbach
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Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, S.J., S.T.D. (born in Druten, 30 November, 1928), was the 29th Superior General of the Society of Jesus, the largest religious order of the Catholic Church.
Kolvenbach's childhood was spent in Druten, near Nijmegen in the Netherlands. There, he attended Canisius College for his secondary studies. At Canisius, he concentrated on modern languages. He entered the novitiate at Mariendaal on 7 September, 1948. After completing philosophy studies at Berchmans Institute in Nijmegen, he was assigned to Lebanon, where he completed his doctorate in Sacred Theology at Université Saint-Joseph in Beirut. Soon after, in 1961, he was ordained a priest in the Armenian Catholic Church, an Eastern-rite church in communion with Rome.
The next years of his life were spent in academia, specifically in linguistics. From 1963 to 1976, he taught general and Oriental linguistics at The Hague, Paris, and Beirut. Eventually, he was appointed Professor of General Linguistics at Université de Saint-Joseph. He served in that capacity until 1981, when he became rector of the Pontifical Oriental Institute.
During his time on the Faculty of Saint-Joseph, he also served as provincial superior of the Jesuit vice-province of the Middle East.
During the 33rd General Congregation of the Society of Jesus, which was summoned to receive the resignation of Father Pedro Arrupe owing to ill-health (though the Vatican leadership was concerned about the direction the Society of Jesus was taking), Father Kolvenbach was elected Superior General. His election took place on 13 September 1983.
On 2 February 2006, Fr. Kolvenbach informed members of the Society of Jesus that, with the consent of Pope Benedict XVI, he intended to step down in 2008, the year he will turn 80. The 35th General Congregation of the Society of Jesus convened on 5 January 2008 in Rome to elect a new superior general, and to decide other important policies for the Jesuit order in the years to come.
On 14 January, 2008, at the 35th General Congregation of the Society of Jesus, Kolvenbach's resignation was officially accepted and he became Superior General emeritus.
While the Jesuit superior general is elected for life, the order's constitutions allow a superior to step down.
|Superior General of the Society of Jesus|
1983 – 2008
| Succeeded by|