Pope Francis

Jorge Mario Bergoglio, Pope Francis I was born on December 17, 1936 in Buenos Aires, Argentina in a family of five children. His father was Italian migrant. As a young man Bergoglio graduated from technical school as chemical technician, but later he decided to become a priest and entered the seminary. On March 11th 1958 he entered the novitiate of the Society of Jesus (known as Jesuits). He studied humanities in Chile and upon his return to Buenos Aires he completed the philosophy studies at the Colegio of San Jose in San Miguel.

The following two years he taught literature and psychology at Immaculate Conception College in Santa Fe and in 1966 he taught the same subjects at the Colegio del Salvatore in Buenos Aires. He studied theology and received a degree from the Colegio of San Jose from 1967 to 1970.

On December 13th 1969 he was ordained as priest and spent his third probandate in the Society of Jesus in Alcala de Henares (Spain) in the period 1970-1971. On April 22nd 1973 he made his final profession with the Jesuits.

Bergoglio was novice master at Villa Barilari, San Miguel (1972-1973), professor at the Faculty of Theology of San Miguel; consultor to the Province of the Society of Jesus and also Rector of the Colegio Maximo of the Faculty of Philosophy and Theology. On July 31st 1973 he was appointed Jesuit provincial of Argentina, an office he held for six years. From 1980 to 1986 he served once again as Rector of the Colegio de San Jose, as well as parish priest again in San Miguel.

In March 1986 he went to Germany to finish his doctoral thesis. Later, his superiors sent him to the Colegio del Salvador in Buenos Aires and next, to the Jesuit Church in the city of Cordoba as spiritual director and confessor.

On May 20th 1992 Pope John Paul II appointed him Auxiliary of Buenos Aires and on May 27th he received Episcopal ordination from the Cardinal Antonio Quarracino. Bergoglio was raised to the dignity of Coadjutor Archbishop of Buenos Aires on June 3rd 1997, after the passing of Cardinal Quarracino. Bergoglio, among other offices, also held the office of Primate of Argentina and Ordinary for Eastern-rite faithful in Argentina and Grand Chancellor of the Catholic University of Argentina.

On the 10th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops that took place in October 2001 he was appointed General Relator. From November 2005 until November 2011 he was President of the Argentine Bishop Conference. St. John Paul II created him cardinal of the on 21st February 2001 assigning him the title of San Roberto Bellarmino. He was member of the Commission for Latin America, the Pontifical Council for the Family, Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, as well as the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.

Bergoglio authored the following works: “Meditationes para religiosos”, 1982; “Reflexiones sobre la vida apostolic”, 1986; “Reflexiones de esperanza”, 1992.

Bergogolio acquired a public reputation for humility and became known as “cardinal of the poor”. Namely, he travelled by public transportation and chose a simple downtown apartment rather than the archbishop’s residence. He speaks fluent Spanish and Italian and somewhat German. Bergoglio is known as great cook, opera lover, fan of Greek classics, Shakespeare and Dostoyevsky. He was also a good swimmer even though he has been facing lung problems from his childhood.

Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio was elected Pontiff of the Catholic Church on March 13th 2013. He was the first citizen from the Americas, the first non-European and first Jesuit priest to be named Pope and adopting the name Francis.