Francis Retz General # 15

General from 1730 to 1750



Franz Retz was born in Prague, Bohemia in 1673 and entered the Society at the age of 16 in 1689. He became a professor of Philosophy at Olmutz on the Danube and later became a professor of Theology at the Clementinum in Prague where he was also appointed Rector. Later he became Provincial of Bohemia and in 1725 the German Assistant.

Before Tamburini had died he had failed to appoint a Vicar General, so the Professed Fathers assembled and elected Retz Vicar General on the first ballot.

He then called a General Congregation—the 16th—for November 19, 1730. The 57-year-old Retz was elected General unanimously, except for his own vote on November 30.

The Catholic Church and especially the Jesuits was on the defensive all over Europe and in the missions it was almost the same. The Jesuits did not seem to have any champion to lead a counter-attack. Despite the vicissitudes the Society continued to grow to over 22,000 members and 39 Provinces. By some individuals, great strides were being made, but aside from occasional cries of success, nothing of great importance was being accomplished.

Retz was General for 20 years and died on November 19, 1750. Only a few short years later the Man-of-War he captained was sunk.

The last remains of Retz were carried to the crypt of the Gesú where they would peacefully rest with his predecessors.