General Congregation 36, is, as the name suggests the 36th Congregation. In its 476 years the Society has had 30 Superior Generals. Fr Adolfo Nicolas expressed his intention of resigning in December 2014, which set in motion the necessity of calling a new GC. In October 2016 GC36 elected Arturo Sosa SJ to take over.
General Congregation 36 was an important opportunity for the Jesuits to refocus on their mission and work. Following the election was a period named ‘ad negotia’ in which important considerations for the society were discussed.
In addition to electing a new superior general, GC 36 delegates will discuss postulata or petitions/requests received from province congregations. Not all postulates are accepted by the general congregation. The number of postulata sent to a general congregation usually comes to no more than several hundred, although approximately 2,000 postulata inundated the 31st General Congregation in 1965-66, as Vatican II unleashed the imagination of the Society. At GC 32 (1974-75), the “service of faith and the promotion of justice,” was established as the specific and overriding characteristic of all Jesuit works.
The GCs have made incredibly important differences to the form of Jesuit life and influence the order has had on the life of the Church. The sixth General Congregation made obligatory a daily hour of prayer and an annual eight-day retreat for all Jesuits. The 20th General Congregation (1820) was the first one held after the Society’s restoration in 1814. Greatly concerned that the Society be the same as before the suppression, it reinstated the decrees of all past congregations. The 31st congregation took place during and after Vatican Council II and elected Father Pedro Arrupe as general. GC 31 dealt with Jesuit life and work in great detail, legislating changes and updating the theory and practice of poverty.
Available here are the documents that reflect the thoughts and attitude of the most recent General Congregation: GC36.