The life of Pope Francis

Jorge Mario Bergoglio was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina’s capital city, on December 17, 1936.

He is one of five children born to Regina María Sivori and Mario José Bergoglio, an Italian immigrant from Turin.

Jorge studied and received a diploma in chemistry at the University of Buenos Aires, intending to pursue this scientific career. However, in 1958, he declared his intention to be a Jesuit priest and entered the order’s seminary of Villa Devoto on March 11 of that year.

Liberal arts 

As part of his formation, Jorge studied liberal arts in Santiago, Chile. In 1960, he gained a Master’s degree in philosophy from the Catholic University of Buenos Aires.

Jorge taught literature and psychology at the Immaculada high school in Santa Fe province from 1964 to 1965 and a year later transferred to the Colegio del Salvador in Buenos Aires, where he taught the same subjects. He returned to his own theological studies in 1967.

On December 13, 1969, Fr Jorge Bergoglio was ordained, and later, in 1972, after his perpetual profession to the Society of Jesus, he was appointed novice master at the Villa Barilari seminary in San Miguel. On July 31, 1973 he was elected Jesuit superior for the Province of Argentina.

Spiritual director 

Returning to teaching in 1980 in San Miguel, that same year Fr Bergoglio became rector of the Philosophical and Theological Faculty of San Miguel, until 1986. After completing his doctoral dissertation in Germany, he served as a confessor and spiritual director in Córdoba.

In May 1992, he was named titular Bishop of Auca  and Auxiliary Bishop of Buenos Aires and consecrated on June 27 of that year. On June 3, 1997, he was named coadjutor archbishop of the archdiocese and subsequently installed as the new Archbishop of Buenos Aires on February 28, 1998. He took as his episcopal motto ‘Miserando atque Eligendo’ (Lowly and yet Chosen).

Archbishop Bergoglio was elevated to cardinal during the consistory of February 21, 2001, receiving his biretta and his Roman church of Jesuit St Robert Bellarmino from Pope John Paul II. 

He participated in the 2005 conclave to elect John Paul’s successor, and is said to have come second to Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger who became Pope Benedict XVI. Later in the year, on November 9, Cardinal Bergoglio was elected as President of the Epsicopal Conference of Argentina. 

Cardinal Bergoglio was elected Pope Francis on March 13, 2013. The white smoke announcing that election became visible over the Vatican at 7.06pm Rome time.