As soon as the current leader of the Catholic church was elected, he took on a different name. His real name is Jorge Mario Bergoglio, but he chose to be called Pope Francis because he was inspired by St. Francis of Assisi and the work he did to bring peace and help to the poor. Pope Francis once exclaimed, “Oh how I would like a poor church and a church for the poor.”
This is the first time that a pope has been named Francis. Therefore, there is no number behind his name as with other popes. If another pope chooses Francis, then the current pope will become Pope Francis I, and the next pope would be Pope Francis II.
Pope Francis is a legal citizen of three different countries. He was born and raised in Argentina. He is also a citizen of Italy because of his Italian parents. The Vatican is in Rome where Pope Francis now reside. Pope Francis knows seven languages including Spanish, Italian, German, French, Portuguese, and English. He understands the Piedmontese language and some Genoese.
Francis is the first Jesuit pope and lives a simple life. After being elected in March 2013, Pope Francis chose not to live in the official papal residence in the Apostolic Palace. He is the first pope since Pope Pius X to live outside the papal apartments. He lives in the much humbler Vatican guest house where he can receive visitors and hold meetings. Pope Francis chose to continue wearing his old, worn-out black shoes instead of the red slippers other popes have worn. He is known for favoring simpler vestments without ornamentation, including refusing the traditional papal mozzetta cape upon his election, choosing silver instead of gold for his piscatory ring, and keeping the same pectoral cross he had when he was cardinal.
After his election as Supreme Pontiff, he decided to go back to the hotel where he had been staying to pay the bill himself, and chose to ride in the bus with the rest of the Cardinals, rather than in the limo provided for him. In 2013, American news magazine the Time named Pope Francis the Person of the Year. The pontiff was given a Harley-Davidson motorcycle after he gave blessings to hundreds of Harley owners in St. Peter’s Square. He sold the bike at an auction that benefited the homeless.
Us Weekly listed many other wonderful and unique things about 78-year-old Pope Francis that most people don’t know. For instance, did you know that Pope Francis has a degree in chemistry, philosophy and theology? In the 1960´s, he taught literature, philosophy, psychology, and theology at several high schools in Argentina.
He was the oldest of five children with only one living sibling. Pope Francis felt called to the priesthood at 17, but he didn’t enter a seminary until age 21. His mother did not want him to become a priest. She wanted him to study medicine and become a doctor. He told her he would become a doctor of people’s souls. When Pope Francis first entered a Jesuit seminary at 21, his mother was so upset, she refused to visit him. To earn money as a student, the pope worked as a bouncer at an Argentine nightclub.
As a boy, he collected stamps for fun. Today, he loves reading and listening to music. He loves Mozart and One Direction. He knows how to dance the tango. He’s a movie lover. He’s a good cook, and it had been said that he makes a “fantastic paella.” He has also taught the chefs at the Vatican how to prepare his favorite dessert, dulce de leche.
Pope Francis has had three girlfriends during his life. When he was 12, he proposed to his first love, his neighbor Amalia Damonte. He later had a teenage romance and then fell in love at 22 with a girl he met at an uncle’s wedding.
He hasn’t watched television since he made a promise to the Virgin Mary to turn off the television in 1990. However, he is the first pope with a Twitter account. His handle, @Pontifex, has more than 14 million followers. He loves chatting on the telephone, but he doesn’t own a mobile phone. He calls friends and colleagues on his landline.
Pope Francis has only one lung. As a teen, he suffered a severe infection that required surgery to remove part of one lung. In 2007, he had an attack of sciatica. If you look closely, you will notice he walks with a slight limp because of sciatica.
The leader of the Catholic church loves sports. He is an official club member for his lifelong favorite team, the San Lorenzo Football Club. He’s a basketball fan. Bergoglio shot hoops with friends when he was a teen and has a personalized jersey from the Boston Celtics and other teams.
He makes his own to-do list. Unlike past popes, he maintains his own detailed public schedules and pencils his own appointments in a private datebook. It is interesting that Pope Francis admits he nods off while praying. He says, “It is good to fall asleep in God’s presence.”