Franz Xavier Wernz General # 25
General from 1906 to 1914
After the death of Father Martin, the Vicar General summoned a Congregation for August 31, 1906, but it began after a day's postponement on September 1 and would last until October 18. On the third ballot taken on September 8, the 64-year-old Wemz was elected General.
During his generalate he vigorously promoted the spiritual life, opened missions and created provinces in all parts of the world. The whole continent of North America was one of his special interests and he approved the setting up of provinces, houses, and colleges the length and breadth of that vast territory. Martin had set up the famous Monumenta Historica and Wernz continued his support and encouraged Jesuit writers to take up this important work, which they did with enthusiasm. He was instrumental in the founding of the Jesuit periodicals "Voces e Maria ad Lacum" which became "Stimmen der Zeit" in Germany and another, "Przeglad Powszechny," in Poland.
One of his last letters written on December 25, 1913 to the Society was on the celebration of the centenary of the Society's restitution, to take place the following year.
Wernz had been General for seven years and eleven months, from September 8, 1906 until he died on August 19, 1914. His death occurred only a few hours before that of the saintly Pontiff Pope Pius X and a mere three weeks after the outbreak of the First World War. It would be a difficult time for his successor to begin leading an international Society in a world internationally shattered.
His tomb can be found in the Jesuit Mausoleum at the Roman Campo Verano cemetery.