Fr Michael Campbell-Johnston was the Provincial of the British Province after which he worked very closely with Fr Arrupe. This is an extract from a reflection that was written on the British Province Website - there is a link at the bottom to read the full article.
I was in the Curia in Rome at the time of the Vietnamese refugees. The General’s advisers said to him: We’ve got to do something about this. Arrupe agreed. As they discussed the Vietnamese boat people, Arrupe’s immediate reaction was: If St Ignatius were alive today, what would he do? That is when I was summoned. He gave me the task of composing a letter to the whole Society which he signed, with hardly any changes, setting up the Jesuit Refugee Service. So it was he who gave me that task and I wrote the letter. It had a momentous effect in the Society: provincials replied in a very positive way to the letter – offering men, offering to take refugees, making all sorts of offers. And then, of course, it had worldwide effect, with many other religious congregations imitating the Jesuit Refugee Service, whose work continues today and continues to grow. Arrupe was deeply influenced by St Ignatius and his teaching. He knew the writings of St Ignatius by heart, like the back of his hand. And that affected all he said and did.
Fr Arrupe spent ten years dying in our little Curia infirmary in Rome. Before his mind went completely and he could no longer express himself, he told people many times that he accepted this and was preparing for his death: this was what God wanted him to do and he set an extraordinary example.
It was my privilege to preside over what turned out to be Pedro Arrupe’s last active meeting as General, which took place in Bangkok on the Feast of the Transfiguration in 1981. At the end, he gave an impromptu talk, which fortunately was recorded by an Indian Jesuit. It was only on replaying the tape the next day after his stroke in Rome airport that we realised the significance of his insistence of the need for prayer, which he declared to be his ‘swan song for the Society’. I remember he used the Spanish expression canción de cisne which we had to translate for him. We wondered whether he had any premonition of what would happen the following day.
Link to the full article