Jan Roothaan General # 21

General from 1829 to 1853

He was born in Amsterdam on November 23, 1785 of parents who had emigrated from Frankfurt, and who had also
converted from Calvinism. Under the apt guidance of a former Jesuit, who had been caught in the Suppression, and of another under whom he studied the classics he went to Dvinck (Duneburg) in White Russia so he could enter the Society, which he did, on June 18, 1804.

In Poland as a scholastic he taught Classics and Rhetoric and was ordained in 1812 at Polotsk. On August 14, 1814 when Pope Pius VII restored the Society, Roothaan was in Pusza. When the Jesuits were expelled from Russia by the Tsar, Roothaan fled to the Jesuit College at Brig in Switzerland where he taught Rhetoric and preached parish missions in the whole Vallesia region along the upper reaches of the Inn River. He founded the College at Turin and became its Rector.

The Congregation held after the death of Father Fortis was held between June 20, 1829 and August 17. On July 9 Roothaan, only 44 years old, was elected General, the youngest since Acquaviva.

During his generalate the secular world, too, was changing. Napoleon had been defeated and exiled; the Catholic Hierarchy was restored in England. Belgium became an independent country and Victoria had begun her long reign as Queen/Empress. Roothaan saw his Jesuits expelled from several countries only to expand to newer corners of the Lord's vineyard. The Belgian, DeSmet, went to evangelize the American Indians in the Rocky Mountains and the Far West. Jesuits expelled from Italy founded colleges and missions. The influential Italian review, Civiltá Cattolica, was founded in Naples in 1850, later to move to Rome. So, despite the many heartaches Roothaan suffered, as his Jesuits suffered, he also received many consolations. He bore the burden for 23 years and 10 months and died at age 68 on May 8, 1853. His remains lie beneath an altar in the Gesí and his heart is kept in a reliquary at the Jesuit Curia in Rome.