The Society of Jesus has enjoyed a special relationship with the Supreme Pontiff dating back to our foundation as St. Ignatius and the first companions placed themselves at the disposal of the Holy Father. The Society is the only religious congregation that has a specific vow of obedience to the Pope in regards to mission.
On March 13, 2013, Archbishop Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina was elected the 266th Supreme Pontiff, taking the name Francis. He is the first Jesuit pope and the first to hail from the Americas. The former Archbishop of Buenos Aires is known for his love of the poor, advising his priests to show mercy and apostolic courage and to keep their doors open to everyone. And when he speaks of social justice, he asks people to pick up the Catechism, to rediscover the Ten Commandments and the Beatitudes.
Born in Buenos Aires in 1936 to Italian immigrants, Pope Francis entered the Society of Jesus in 1958. He completed his studies of the humanities in Chile and returned to Argentina in 1963 to graduate with a degree in philosophy from the Colegio de San José in San Miguel. From 1964 to 1965 he taught literature and psychology at Immaculate Conception College in Santa Fé and in 1966 he taught the same subject at the Colegio del Salvatore in Buenos Aires. From 1967-70 he studied theology and obtained a degree from the Colegio of San José.
After his 1969 ordination, Pope Francis continued his training between 1970 and 1971 at the University of Alcalá de Henares, Spain. Back in Argentina, he was novice master at Villa Barilari, San Miguel; professor at the faculty of theology of San Miguel; consultor to the Province of the Society of Jesus and also rector of the Colegio Máximo of the faculty of philosophy and theology.
In 1973, he was appointed provincial of the Jesuits in Argentina, an office he held for six years. He then resumed his work in the university sector and from 1980 to 1986 served once again as rector of the Colegio de San José, as well as parish priest, again in San Miguel. In 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.
In 1992, Pope John Paul II appointed him titular Bishop of Auca and Auxiliary of Buenos Aires, and in 1998, he was named Archbishop. Three years later in February 2001, when Pope John Paul II named him a Cardinal, Pope Francis asked the faithful not to come to Rome to celebrate his appointment but rather to donate to the poor what they would have spent on the journey.
As Archbishop of Buenos Aires — a diocese with more than three million inhabitants — he conceived of a missionary project based on communion and evangelization.
Until his election as pope, he was a member of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, the Congregation for the Clergy, the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, the Pontifical Council for the Family and the Pontifical Commission for Latin America.
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