Jorge Mario Bergoglio was born December 17, 1936. Seventy seven years later on February 28, 2013, he was elected Pope of the Catholic Church. Pope Francis.
Pope Frances touched many during his recent visit to the United States. Catholics and non-Catholics alike. Exhibited unique qualities. He was God like, human, sensitive, interested in people and their problems, etc.
These qualities are not imbued in a man the day he becomes Pope. They have to be intrinsic in him. A result of his experiences in life. Good and bad.
Pope Frances traveled an interesting road from his teen years to his days as Pope. All molded him to be who he is. The man a work in progress.
I share some of what I discovered with you.
Pope Francis had three girl friends. His first was the girl next door. Amalia. Amalia and his second love were during his teenage years. The third occurred while he was in the seminary. The Pope was attending a family wedding and met a young woman. They fell in love. A choice had to be made. The Pope opted for the priesthood.
He became seriously ill as a teenager. A lung infection. Part of one lung had to be removed.
During his university years, the Pope was in need of money. He had several jobs. While studying for a graduate degree in chemistry, he worked as a bouncer in an Argentine night club. Would you believe! He also worked as a janitor sweeping floors and testing chemicals in a laboratory.
He earned a graduate degree in chemistry.
The Pope’s mother did not support his decision to become a priest. She was adamantly opposed. Never the less, he entered the seminary at 21. His mother at first refused to visit him.
Basketball was and is his sport love of choice. He enjoys shooting hoops. One of the Pope’s most prized possessions is a personalized jersey from the Boston Celtics.
The spirit of a rebel was within him. While a priest, Argentina was ruled by a dictatorship. Not a friendly group. The Pope hid people in his church who were being sought by the authorities.
As the Auxiliary Bishop of Buenos Aires, he was known as the Slum Bishop. His concern for the poor obvious. He increased dramatically the number of priests assigned to the slum areas of the city.
When he moved up a step and became the Bishop of Buenos Aires, he further exhibited his humility and love for the poor. He washed the feet of people in jails, hospitals, old age homes, and the slums on Holy Thursday each year. He continues that practice as Pope.
As a priest, bishop and to this day as Pope, he is a big soccer fan. His team is the San Lorenzo Football Club.
The Pope loves talking with his friends. On the phone. Not a mobile one. He uses a land line. He telephones his friends on impulse and at random times to chat. As friends do.
The Pope tangos. He has enjoyed doing so for years.
The Pope sometimes falls asleep while praying. He says “…..it is good to fall asleep in God’s presence.”
He has a sweet tooth. He enjoys alfajores. An Argentine cookie filled with dulce de leche covered with chocolate.
A pleasure for the Pope is watching moves. Loves them! His favorite is Fellinini’s 1954 La Strada.
The Pope has an interest in art. His favorite painting is a Chagall. The White Crucifixion.
The Pope speaks seven languages. His has a problem with English, however. Pronunciation. He claims it is the result of being very tone deaf.
His favorite language and the one he is most comfortable with is Spanish. Argentina is a Spanish speaking nation. During his recent United States visit, 14 of his 18 speeches were spoken in Spanish.
A U.S. President has Air Force One. The Pope, Shepherd One.
The Pope has a Twitter account. Six million followers. @Pontifex.
Pope Francis touches people because he has touched and been touched by life. He does human things. There is no fanfare about him. His humility obvious.
He is God like.