Biography of Pope Francis

Jorge Mario Bergoglio was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on December 17, 1936, to Italian immigrants. He became Pope Francis on March 13, 2013, when he was elected the 266th pope of the Roman Catholic Church. Francis is the first pope from the Americas and the first Jesuit. He took his name after St. Francis of Assisi.

The future Pope graduated as a chemical technician and then chose the path of the priesthood, entering the Diocesan Seminary of Buenos Aires. On 11 March 1958 he entered the novitiate of the Society of Jesus. From 1964 to 1966 the young Jesuit taught literature and psychology at Colegio de la Inmaculada Concepción in Santa Fe and then at Colegio del Salvador in Buenos Aires. From 1967 to 1970 he completed his theology studies in the Colegio de San José, seminary of the Jesuits in Argentina (San Miguel, Buenos Aires).

Ordained as a priest in December 1969, Bergoglio began serving as Jesuit provincial of Argentina in 1973, an office he held for six years. He later returned to the Colegio de San José, where he served as rector (1980-86), as well as parish priest in San Miguel. In March 1986 he went to Germany to finish his doctoral thesis; his superiors then sent him to the Colegio del Salvador in Buenos Aires and next to the Jesuit Church in the city of Córdoba as spiritual director and confessor.

On 27 May he received episcopal ordination and was appointed auxiliary bishop of Buenos Aires. He chose as his episcopal motto, miserando atque eligendo, and on his coat of arms inserted the IHS, the symbol of the Society of Jesus. In February 1998, he became archbishop of Buenos Aires. Three years later, in February 2001, Pope St. John Paul II created him Cardinal. He asked the faithful not to come to Rome to celebrate his creation as Cardinal but rather to donate to the poor what they would have spent on the journey.  As a priest and a bishop, Cardinal Bergoglio was very well known for his sober and strict lifestyle.

In April 2005 he took part in the Conclave in which Pope Benedict XVI was elected. That same year he was named president of the Bishops’ Conference of Argentina, serving in that position until 2011.

On March 13, 2013, at the age of 76, Jorge Bergoglio was elected pope of the Roman Catholic Church. After his election, he chose to live in a simple two-room apartment in the Vatican’s Guest House of Santa Marta rather than in the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace.

During his papacy, he has published two encyclicals, Lumen fidei and Laudato si’, and three apostolic exhortations Evangelii gaudium, Amoris Laetitia and Gaudete et Exsulatate. He has made numerous pastoral trips to different countries, including the the World Youth Days in Rio and Krakow, were he met with millions of young Catholics. Since the beginning of ministry, Pope Francis has shown especial concern for the poor, the weak and the ones that live in the peripheries, the environment and the family.