Luis Martín

Very Rev. Luis Martín García, S.J.

Very Rev. Luis Martín García, S.J. (19 August 1846 – 18 April 1906) was a Spanish Jesuit, elected the twenty-fourth Superior General of the Society of Jesus.

Early years and formation[]

The third of six brothers Martín was born of humble parentage. After primary education in his own village he entered the seminary of Burgos (1858) where he spent six years for the regular priestly course of Philosophy and Theology. His intellectual inclination led him however to join the Society of Jesus in 1864. Revolution in Spain and anti-clericalism forced him to move to France where he complete his Philosophical training (Poyanne, 1870) where he taught also humanities and rhetoric before doing his Theology (1873–77). Priestly ordination (14 September 1876) was soon followed by the last stage of Jesuit formation, the so-called ‘Tertianship’ (Third Year of Probation; 1878–79).

Professor and rector[]

Soon after the anti-religious law of Ferry (1880) compelled Jesuits to leave France. Fortunately the restoration of the Spanish monarchy in the 1870s had now made it possible to repatriate Jesuits back to Spain. On his return to Castile, Martín, though a man of letters, was redirected towards the Biblical studies and teaching. Yet other changes were in store for him: he was made Rector of the Seminary of Salamanca: (1880–84),[1] director of the journal El Mensajero del Corazon de Jesus (1884) and Superior of the Centre of Superior studies of Deusto-Bilbao (the future University of Deusto),

Provincial of Castile[]

As Rector of the seminary of Salamanca he had revealed qualities of leadership and commitment to spiritual and intellectual formation that led the Superior General to appoint him Provincial of Castile in 1886. He handled tactfully the deep divisions between Carlists and Integrists that were plaguing Catholics in Spain—particularly in the Basque area—including the Jesuits.

Called to Rome: Vicar General[]

Martin was called to Rome by Anton Anderledy to first pilot a projected document of studies in the Society. A few hours before his death (1892) Anderledy made him Vicar General of the Society, effectively entrusting him with the calling and organizing the General Congregation that would elect a new Superior General. The political tension between the Church and the new Kingdom of Italy was making it difficult for the Congregation to meet in Italy. Martin obtained from Pope Leo XIII that the Congregation meet in Loyola, (Spain). This is the only General Congregation to have met outside Italy.

General Congregation XXIV[]

The 24th General congregation opened on 24 September 1892. Martin was elected on the second ballot (42 on 70) and declared Superior General (2 October). The Congregation over, Martín took a round-about route back to Fiesole, Italy in order to visit France, England, Ireland, Belgium and Germany. This was his only visit to countries which would provide many of the problems of his Generalate. Martin's problems in dealing with Northern European Jesuits can be better understood if one remembers that the Jesuit dissidents with whom he was familiar in Spain were of the reactionary and anti-intellectual type. This experience did little to prepare him to understand the more liberal ideas of northern European Jesuits.

Martin’s government[]

Suffering and death[]

Even at the beginning of his term Martín's physical health had been poor and it grew steadily worse with the years. In 1905, a tumor forced the amputation of his right arm. Pope Pius X granted him permission to celebrate mass despite his disability, a privilege for which he was most grateful. The cancer, however, soon invaded his lungs and he died in Rome, on 18 April 1906.



  1. ^ Wikisource-logo.svg Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Luis Martin y Garcia" . Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.


Preceded by
Anton Anderledy
Superior General of the Society of Jesus
Succeeded by
Franz Xavier Wernz