Pope Francis (born 1936)
“We must restore hope to young people, help the old, be open to the future, spread love. Be poor among the poor.”
Pope Francis, also known as Jorge Mario Bergoglio, was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He was the first Pope from South America and the first from the Jesuit order. Pope Francis studied humanities in Santiago, Chile, and completed a licentiate in Philosophy.
Pope Francis was ordained as a priest in 1969 and subsequently served as the head of the Jesuits from 1973-1979, coinciding with the military coup in Argentina. In 1992, he was appointed auxiliary bishop of Buenos Aires and later as Archbishop in 1998.
During the country’s economic crisis, Pope Francis became known for his humility, living in a simple apartment rather than the archbishop’s residence, and travelling by foot instead of private transport. He gained a reputation for being an advocate for the poor and promoting social matters within the church and government.
In 2013, Pope Benedict XVI resigned and the election process began for a new pope. Bergoglio was elected and was the first pope to choose the name Francis, in honour of St. Francis of Assisi.
In his papacy, Pope Francis has been influential in the issuing of Laudato si’ (Praise be to you), which promotes care of our common home and the concept of ‘integral ecology’; care for the poor and marginalised, as well as the environment. Laudato si’ was also significant for its endorsement of the rights of Indigenous peoples. Pope Francis has been a tireless advocate for the Gospel of justice, urging his community to journey together in a more synodal manner.
You can read more about Pope Francis at Britannica