Monday, October 15, 2007

Wlodimir (Vladimir) Ledochowski's 1915 Election According to The New York Times

New Jesuit Head is a Russian Pole
Father Wlodimir Ledochowski is Elected General of the Society of Jesus
Defeat for the Latins

February 12, 1915


He was born on October 7, 1866, a son of Count Anthony Ledochowski, a cavalry officer in the Austrian Army. The family came from Russian Poland. Father Ledochowski’s uncle was Cardinal Ledochowski, Prefect of the Propaganda of the Holy See.

As a boy the new head of the Jesuits was a page in the Court of the late Empress Elizabeth of Austria. He studied in Vienna, and at the end of the gymnasium course he won the Imperial Prize, the highest honor. He next studied law for one year, and then entered the seminary at Tarnow, Galicia, later studying the Grmanicum in Rome.

Father Ledochowski entered the noyitiate of the Society of Jesus in Galicia in 1889, and was ordained as a priest in June, 1894. He then became a member of the staff of writers in the Uliea Grodzka. In 1898 he was appointed Superior of the Grodzka and became a well known as a writer and preacher. He is the author of a book of sermons and of articles on sociology.

Father Ledochowski was later appointed Vice Provincial of the Society of Jesus for Poland. In 1902 he was appointed Provincial of the Society of Jesus for Poland. At the election of Father Wernze as General of the Society of Jesus he said to have received thirteen votes on the first and second ballots. He was elected assistant to Father Wernz over the Provinces of the Netherlands, Hungary, Germany, Galicia, Belgium, and Austria.

The Generals of the Society of Jesus are elected for life by the General Congregation of the Order. The General of the Society is often called the “Black Pope.”

Father Wernz died a few hours after the death of Pope Pius. Anxiety over the war is said to have hastened his end. Following the death of Father Wernz, Father Fines, the Assistant Jesuit General for France, was selected to head the order, which he did until yesterday’s election.

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