Superior general of the jesuits; b. Loosdorf, Austria, Oct. 7, 1866; d. Rome, Dec. 13, 1942. He was the son of Count Antonius Kalka-Ledóchowski, the brother of Maria T. ledÓchowska, and the nephew of Cardinal Miecyslaw ledÓchowski. During his secondary school studies at the Theresianum in Vienna, he was a page for the Austrian empress. After studying law for a year at the University of Cracow, he began to study for the secular priesthood in 1885 at Tarnów and continued them at the Gregorian University in Rome. In 1889 he joined the Jesuits and was ordained in 1894. He was appointed successively writer, superior of the residence in Cracow, and then rector of the college there, vice-provincial (1901) and provincial (1902) of the Galicia province. He acted as assistant for the German assistancy from 1906 until Feb. 11, 1915, when he was elected the 26th superior general of the order. During his term in this post (1915–42) assistancies increased in number from five to eight; provinces, from 26 to 50; missions, from 29 to 46; missionaries, from 971 to 3,785; members from 16,946 to 26,588. Ledóchowski was responsible also for the new codification of the order's constitutions after the promulgation of the Code of Canon Law; the reorganization of the superior general's curia; changes in the ratio studiorum; the notable impetus given to the Jesuit institutions of higher studies in Rome, including the Pontifical Oriental Institute and the Russian College (which was confided to the Jesuits during Ledóchowski's generalate); the promotion of publications, especially scientific ones; the vigorous impulse to the work of the spiritual exercises, to sodalities of the Blessed Virgin, and to the apostleship of prayer. His numerous letters and instructions to Jesuits promoted ignatian spirituality. Ledóchowski was noted for keen perception, knowledge of men and of conditions throughout the world, spiritual firmness, and indefatigable labor.
Bibliography: Selected Writings of Father Ledóchowski (Chicago 1945). l. koch, Jesuiten-Lexikon; Die Gesellschaft Jesu einst und jetzt (Paderborn 1934) 1085–1088. j. h. slattery, "In Memoriam: VI. Ledóchowski," Woodstock Letters 72 (1943): 1–20. g. cassiani ingoni, Il p. W. Ledóchowski (Rome 1945), uncritical.