Pope Francis

265th Successor to St. Peter

Pope Francis greets people at a General Audience.

On March 13, 2013, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, 76, archbishop of Buenos Aires was elected in the conclave to become the first pope from the Americas. As the 265th successor to Saint Peter, he was the first pope to take the name of Francis, a name chosen in honor of Saint Francis of Assisi because he wanted “a church which is bruised, hurting and dirty because it has been out on the streets, rather than a church which is unhealthy from being confined and from clinging to its own security." (Evangelii Gaudium, 49). Read his full biography on the on the Vatican website.

Vatican Website

Pope Francis Coat of Arms

Coat of Arms

Pope Francis’ motto on his coat of arms, “miserando atque eligendo” is taken from a homily by Saint Bede, an English eighth-century Christian writer and doctor of the Church of the Gospel account of the call of Saint Matthew. It roughly translates to “having mercy, he called him.” Read more on the Vatican's website.

Quick Facts

Date of Birth December 17, 1936
Country of Origin Buenos Aires, Argentina
Area of Study Humanities
Priesthood Ordination December 13, 1969
Episcopal Ordination February 28, 1998
Pontificate 2013 - present
Personal Motto Miserando atque eligendo (roughly translates to having mercy, he called him)


Pope Francis Biography Graphic


  • 1936

    December 17: Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, to Italian immigrant parents.

  • 1957

    At age 21, falls gravely ill; eventually severe pneumonia is diagnosed, right lung partially removed.

  • 1958

    March 11: Enters novitiate of the Society of Jesus.

  • 1960

    March 12: Takes first vows as Jesuit.

  • 1961

    Begins studying philosophy at San Miguel Seminary, Buenos Aires.

  • 1964-1965

    Teaches high school literature and psychology at Jesuit secondary school in Santa Fe.

  • 1966

    Teaches at prestigious Colegio del Salvador secondary school in Buenos Aires.

  • 1967-1970

    Studies theology at San Miguel seminary.

  • 1969

    December 13: Ordained a priest.

  • 1970-1971

    Spends "tertianship," or Third Probation period of Jesuit formation, in Spain.

  • 1971-1973

    Serves as master of novices and vice chancellor, San Miguel seminary.

  • 1973

    Takes perpetual profession as Jesuit.

  • 1973-1979

    Serves as superior of Jesuit province of Argentina and Uruguay.

  • 1979-1985

    Serves as rector of Colegio Maximo and theology teacher.

  • 1986

    Goes to Germany to finish doctoral thesis.

  • 1992

    June 27: Ordained auxiliary bishop of Buenos Aires.

  • 1997

    3 June: named coadjutor archbishop of Buenos Aires.

  • 1998

    February 28: Installed as archbishop of Buenos Aires.

  • 2001

    Co-presides over Synod of Bishops.

  • 2001

    February 21: Elevated to the College of Cardinals.

  • 2005-2011

    Serves as president of the Argentine Bishops Conference.

  • 2013

    March 13: Elected in conclave to be 265th successor to Saint Peter.

  • 2015


  • Pope Francis
    “Dear young people, my joyful hope is to see you keep running the race before you… The Church needs your momentum, your intuitions, your faith. We need them! And when you arrive at where we have not yet reached, have the patience to wait for us.” (Christus Vivit, 199)

    – Pope Francis

  • Pope Francis
    "A little bit of mercy makes the world less cold and more just." - Angelus, March 17, 2013

    – Pope Francis

  • Pope Francis
    "The urgent challenge to protect our common home includes a concern to bring the whole human family together to seek a sustainable and integral development, for we know that things can change." (Laudato Si’, 13)

    – Pope Francis

  • Pope Francis
    “What is God’s love? It is not something vague, some generic feeling. God’s love has a name and a face: Jesus Christ, Jesus. Love for God is made manifest in Jesus." - Angelus, August 11, 2013

    – Pope Francis

  • Pope Francis
    “Let us dream, then, as a single human family, as fellow travelers sharing the same flesh, as children of the same earth which is our common home, each of us bringing the richness of his or her beliefs and convictions, each of us with his or her own voice, brothers and sisters all.” (Fratelli Tutti, 8)

    – Pope Francis

  • Pope Francis
    "Whatever you do, don’t be the sorry sight of an abandoned vehicle! Don’t be parked cars, but dream freely and make good decisions. Take risks, even if it means making mistakes. Don’t go through life anaesthetized or approach the world like tourists. Make a ruckus! Cast out the fears that paralyze you, so that you don’t become young mummies. Live! Give yourselves over to the best of life!” (Christus Vivit, 143)

    – Pope Francis

  • Pope Francis
    "Everything is connected. Concern for the environment thus needs to be joined to a sincere love for our fellow human beings and an unwavering commitment to resolving the problems of society." (Laudato Si’, 91)

    – Pope Francis

  • Pope Francis
    “The Church will have to initiate everyone – priests, religious, and laity – into this ‘art of accompaniment’ which teaches us to remove our sandals before the sacred ground of the other. The pace of this accompaniment must be steady and reassuring, reflecting our closeness and our compassionate gaze which also heals, liberates, and encourages growth in the Christian life.” (Evangelii Gaudium, 169)

    – Pope Francis

  • Pope Francis
    “Although she constantly holds up the call to perfection and asks for a fuller response to God, the Church must accompany with attention and care the weakest of her children, who show signs of a wounded and troubled love, by restoring in them hope and confidence… Let us not forget that the Church’s task is often like that of a field hospital.” (Amoris Laetitia, 291)

    – Pope Francis

General Audience


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