Pope Francis I is the 266th man elected as pope. He was appointed in 2013 at the age of 76 and met with many world leaders since taking on the position. This article offers a look at his life before and after becoming pope.
Born in December of 1936 as Jorge Mario Bergoglio, Pope Francis was one of five children born to Regina and Mario. As the eldest, he often helped his mother care for the younger children. After finishing elementary school, he attended a technical school and received a diploma in chemical tech. While working in a lab, Jorge also worked part-time as a bar bouncer and as a custodian. He became a fan of football and dancing, often visiting tango clubs during his youth.
Calling to the Church
In the late 1950s, Jorge received a calling to help the church. He went back to school and began working with the Society of Jesus. Jorge would also work as a professor at a local college and teach psychology and literature. Named one of the archbishops of Buenos Aires in 1997, he brought awareness to some of the slums in the city and appointed more priests to work in those areas.
Life as Pope
Before becoming pope, Pope Francis went through an extensive physical exam that found he was healthier than other men of the same age. He became the 11th pope born outside of Europe and the first since Gregory III who served during the eighth century. Pope Francis is also the first pope born in the Southern Hemisphere. Known for his simple approach to the role, he has a deep commitment to the poor and believes that the Church should help those in need. He even chose his name in honor of a man who helped the poor. Elected on March 13, 2013, he accepted the position and became inaugurated on March 17. Pope Francis I experienced some tension with Argentina after he called for a better distribution of wealth in the nation. The pope also believes in the teachings of mercy as established by Jesus Christ and encourages those who think they failed the Church to come back.
Quick Facts About Pope Francis I
- Pope Francis was born on December 17, 1936 in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
- His name before becoming pope was Jorge Mario Bergoglio.
- Pope Francis still serves as pope and has not yet passed away.
- His papacy began on March 13, 2013.
- His Predecessor was Benedict XVI
Interesting Facts About Pope Francis I
- Pope Francis I earned the nickname of the Slum Bishop in the 1990s due to the priests he sent into the slums of Buenos Aires. He believed that those priests could help the area improve.
- As the first Pope Francis, he chose the name in honor of St. Francis of Assisi who lived in Italy during the 12th century.
- Pope Francis had a girlfriend before becoming a priest. The two would often go tango dancing and visit some of the top nightclubs in the city.
- He is one of the most fluent popes of all time. Not only can he speak Italian, Spanish and Latin, but he can understand Ukrainian, English, French, German and Portuguese when others speak it.
- During a serious bout of pneumonia in his early years, he developed a lung infection that required doctors to operate. Though he only has one healthy lung today, he is still very active.
- Pope Francis takes an informal approach to his role. He was the first pope to turn down the apartment that others used in favor of a small guesthouse. The pope also wore simple clothing during his appointment and continues using the same cross he did as a cardinal.