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GC36, No. 2 October 10, 2016
GENERAL CONGREGATION 36
Members of Jesuit's General Congregation 36 begin "Murmuratio"
Four Days of Conversations and Information Gathering Prior to Election of Order's Next Superior General
(Rome, Monday, October 10, 2016) - Today, the 212 Jesuits who are attending General Congregation 36 at the Jesuit headquarters in Rome begin a centuries-old practice called the murmuratio. Four days of one-on-one conversation and information gathering, the murmuratio is designed to prepare the delegation for the election this coming Friday, October 14, of their new superior general, the Jesuit who will lead the largest order of priests and brothers in the Roman Catholic Church. On October 3, the Jesuits' most recent superior general, Fr. Adolfo Nicolás, 80, resigned after eight years of service.
The murmuratio practice was established by St. Ignatius of Loyola, who, with his companions, founded the Society of Jesus in 1540. In the Jesuit Constitutions, St. Ignatius, the Jesuits' first superior general, instructed his men to use the period of four days to "seek enlightenment from those able to give good information" about "who from the whole Society could be most suitable" for the office of superior general.
Importantly, any campaigning or politicking is strictly forbidden, and any congregation member aware of someone seeking the office of superior general, directly or indirectly, is required to report that information.
The 212 Jesuits elected or appointed to attend General Congregation 36 represent 66 countries. While some may know each other previously, the vast majority of the attendees to the congregation are meeting for the very first time. A practice unique to the Society of Jesus, the four days of murmuratio provide time for Jesuits to get to know one another, while sharing and seeking information about possible candidates for the order's highest office.
This Friday, October 14, after four days of "murmuring," the 212 electors to General Congregation 36 will head to the Aula (Latin for hall) at the Jesuit Curia in Rome, located a short distance from the Vatican, to elect the 31st superior general in its 476-year history.
About the Society of Jesus
Founded in 1540 by Saint Ignatius of Loyola and his companions, the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) is the largest order of priests and brothers in the Roman Catholic Church. Jesuit priests and brothers are involved in educational, pastoral and spiritual ministries around the world, practicing a faith that promotes justice. For more information on the Society of Jesus and General Congregation 36, visit www.gc36.org
NB. Although there are 215 members of GC36, only 212 will participate in voting for the new General.