Early Life and Education

Jorge Mario Bergoglio was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on December 17, 1936, to Italian immigrants. As a young man, Bergoglio underwent surgery to remove part of one of his lungs due to serious infection. He graduated from a technical school as a chemical technician . In March 1958, he entered the novitiate of the Society of Jesus.

Bergoglio taught literature and psychology in 1964 and 1966. He studied theology and received a degree from the Colegio of San José from 1967 to 1970. Moreover, he finished his doctoral thesis in theology in Germany in 1986.

Entering Priesthood

Bergoglio became a priest in December 1969. He began serving as Jesuit provincial of Argentina in 1973. He later returned to the Colegio of San José, where he served as rector (1980-86) as well as a professor of theology.

On May 20, 1992, he became titular bishop of Auca and auxiliary of Buenos Aires. In February 1998, he became archbishop of Buenos Aires. In February 2001, he was elevated to cardinal by Pope John Paul II, named the cardinal-priest of Saint Robert Bellarmino. In 2005, he became president of the Bishops’ Conference of Argentina, serving in that position until 2011.

Becoming Pope

On March 13, 2013, at the age of 76, Jorge Bergoglio became the 266th pope of the Roman Catholic Church. Becoming the first American citizen  and first Jesuit priest to be a pope. He adopted the name Pope Francis. Prior to 2013, Pope Francis had served as both archbishop and cardinal for more than 12 years.

The tone of his papacy, which has become admired globally, was established long before his elevation to the church’s highest position. However, when they named him to that post, the media quickly picked up on stories of his humility. News circulated about the fact that he would choose to live in a simple two-room apartment rather than the luxurious papal accommodations.  He broke traditions that have been upheld by popes for more than a century.