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A conversation with Father General Adolfo Nicolás SJ
This is a transcription of a conversation which Father General had with Tom Rochford, Pierre Bélanger, and Dani Villanueva, of the communication team for the 35th General Congregation on Sunday, February 10, 2008.
The Catholicity of my parents was a form of “village Catholicism,” a Castillian village Catholicity which is strong, constant, traditional. But, the fact that we had to move around made my parents, especially my mother, extremely flexible. So, she could find a way to adjust to different situations so much that at the end of her life, she was a kind of counselor. She never studied beyond primary school, but she was the counselor for practically all the neighbors who would come to ask for advice. She was always very flexible and open in her way of dealing with the people.
If you asked her or my father how they thought, their answers would have been very much in the line of traditional Catholic thinking. But if people came to them with problems, they had the ability to open possibilities, not just to give answers. They knew the theoretical answers, the orthodox answers, but they had this sense of adaptation. I think this has influenced me, especially when you move to other cultures and you realize that people go through experiences that are totally different than the one you had gone through. Then, you are more ready to listen and to hear the music, not just the words--the music of the experience of others. So that certainly had an influence.