Pierre Jean Beckx

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Father Pierre Jean Beckx, contemporary engraving

Pierre Jean Beckx (born February 5, 1795 in Zichem near Leuven , Belgium , † March 4, 1887 in Rome ) was a Belgian Jesuit priest and 22nd general of the Societas Jesu (SJ).


Beckx, the son of a shoemaker, attended the Jesuit college in Mechelen after attending the Latin school in Zichem , where he was ordained priest on March 7, 1819. He was initially a pastor in Uccle / Ukkel near Brussels for eight months , and on October 29, 1819 Beckx joined the religious order of the Society of Jesus . After pastoral activities in Hamburg , Hildesheim and Braunschweig , he became professor for canon law in Hildesheim .

When Duke Friedrich Ferdinand von Anhalt-Köthen converted to the Catholic faith in 1825 , Beckx was sent to Köthen as confessor and court chaplain . After the Duke's death in 1830, he and his widow, Duchess Julie , moved to Vienna . During his stay in Vienna, he was entrusted several times by his order, but also by the Holy See , with important missions to Lombardy , Hungary and Bavaria . In the revolutionary year of 1848 Duchess Julie and Beckx died was with all other Jesuits from Austria sold.

Beckx went back to Belgium and was rector of the college in Leuven in 1851 . However, he soon returned to Austria and was appointed Superior of Hungary in 1852 . A short time later he was promoted to Provincial of the Province of Austria . In this capacity he participated in the Congregation of Procurators in Rome.

When the 21st general of the order, Joannes Philippus Roothaan, died on May 8th, 1853 , the general assembly elected Beckx unanimously on July 2nd, 1853 as the order's 22nd general.

As a Jesuit general, Beckx succeeded in more than doubling the number of members of the order. During his tenure, new Jesuit provinces were created in Ireland , France , Spain , Portugal and North America . The frequent missions to Protestant areas and the significant influence that the order had gained, especially since the late 1850s, were mainly due to his skillful management of the order's affairs.

During his tenure, the order magazine Civiltà cattolica ( Italy ) was founded. He was also a co-founder of the Etudes ( France ), the Voices from Maria Laach ( Germany ) (today: '' Voices of Time '' ) and the magazine for Catholic theology (Austria).

In 1873 Beckx and the General Curia of the Order moved to Fiesole near Florence . At his own request, in 1884, Beckx was assigned Antonius Anderledy , cum iure successionis ( with the right of succession ). Anderledy was proclaimed the new general on the day Beckx died.

Beckx spent his last years in Rome again, where he died on March 4, 1887 at the age of 92.

The Jesuit Bishop Charles Lavigne (1840–1913), who was important for India, worked as his secretary for 4 years before his missionary work and was influenced by him.

Publications (selection)

  • Month of Mary , Freiburg 1885


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Pierre-Jean Beckx. In: Catholic Encyclopedia. Retrieved August 21, 2013 .
predecessor Office successor
Joannes Philippus Roothaan Superior General of the Society of Jesus
1853 - 1887
Anton Maria Anderledy