Luis Martin General # 24

General from 1892 to 1906



Luis was born on August 19, 1846 the third of the seven children of Clemente and Francisca Garcia of Melgar in Castile, Spain. He entered the Society on October 13, 1864 at the age of 18 and made his Novitiate at Loyola in Spain. He studied Philosophy at Vals in France and was ordained on September 24, 1876 by Bishop Juan Camillo Fonteneau, Bishop of Agen, France. He celebrated his first Mass at the shrine of Lourdes, which, at that time, was just beginning its fame. He became a Rector, then, Provincial of Castile and Sub-Secretary of the Society. After Anderledy's death the political situation was so tense that Pope Leo XIII suggested that the General Congregation, that was to be called, should take place somewhere outside Italy. The Vicar General deemed it appropriate that it should be held at Loyola, Spain.

So, the 24th General Congregation was held in Spain from September 24 until December 5, 1892. The Vicar General, Luis Martin, was elected General on October 2, 1892 at the age of 48. The Congregation also recommended that the General and Curia should return to Rome from Fiesole. In January 1895 this was done and the Curia took up its residence in the German College. Beckx had left Rome 22 years before, but by now the political and religious climate had changed sufficiently to warrant a return.

Martin was a man of great ideas and one of his most outstanding was the writing of the definitive history of the Society from its Ignatian beginnings using all available documents. This project became the famous Monumenta Historica, which at this writing is made up of over 150 thick volumes, written by Jesuits competent in their specific fields. He also encouraged Jesuits of other countries to write the histories of their provinces, which was done at times with such vigor that these Histories now take up much space on the shelves of Jesuit house libraries.

In 1905 cancer was discovered on his right arm. The arm had to be amputated after several attempts, of finding a cure, were unsuccessful.

Eventually, he died on April 18, 1906 at the age of 60 years, and a generalate of 13 years and 6 months. He was interred in the large Jesuit Mausoleum in the Roman cemetery at Campo Verano.