Loyola Press is very pleased to announce the publication of our newest book on the pope: Pope Francis: Life and Revolution: A Biography of Jorge Bergoglio. It’s written by Argentine journalist Elisabetta Piqué, who was a friend of Bergoglio long before he was elected pope.
Having worked on this project, I’m enthusiastic about people knowing more about Pope Francis. This book covers his background since boyhood, on through his years of Jesuit formation and his various leadership positions prior to his becoming pope. For today’s post, I include the timeline of his life thus far. This appears in the back of the book. For those of us not as familiar with his life details, I thought this would be a good place to start.
Essential Chronology of Jorge Mario Bergoglio’s Life
Born in Buenos Aires on December 17, 1936, the son of Italian immigrants. His father, Mario, is an accountant employed by the railways, and his mother, Regina Sivori, is a committed wife dedicated to raising their five children.
He studies in secondary school as a chemical technician and also works in a textile factory.
September 21—He receives the call of God to the priesthood when he goes to confession in the Basilica of San Josè in the Flores neighborhood of Buenos Aires.
He enters the diocesan seminary of Villa Devoto, but soon contracts pneumonia and nearly dies. The upper part of one lung has to be removed.
March 11—He enters the Society of Jesus at the age of twenty-one.
He takes first vows as a Jesuit and then goes to Chile to study humanities.
He returns to Argentina to study for a degree in philosophy from the Colegio Máximo de San José in San Miguel.
He teaches literature and psychology at the Institute of the Immaculate Conception of Santa Fé.
He teaches literature and psychology at the Institute del Salvador, Buenos Aires.
He begins studies in theology at the Colegio Máximo.
December 13—He is ordained a priest by Archbishop Ramón José Castellano.
He continues his training to be a Jesuit at the University of Alcalá de Henares, Spain.
April 22—He makes his final profession with the Jesuits.
Back in Argentina, he is named Novice Master at Villa Barilari, San Miguel; professor at the Faculty of Theology of San Miguel; consultor to the Province of the Society of Jesus, and also Rector of the Faculty of Philosophy and Theology at the Colegio Máximo.
July 31—Father Pedro Arrupe, Superior General of the Jesuits, appoints him as Provincial of the Jesuits in Argentina, an office he holds for six years.
January—He goes to Dublin, Ireland, to study English and stays with the Jesuits at Milltown Park.
He is Rector of the Colegio Máximo, as well as a parish priest, again in San Miguel, and resumes his work with the university sector.
March—He goes to Germany to do research for a doctoral thesis on Romano Guardini, but decides to return to Buenos Aires after some months. In Germany, he discovers the image of Mary Untier of Knots.
He teaches at Colegio del Salvador in Buenos Aires. He is elected Procurator for the Jesuit Province of Argentina and in September goes to Rome for an international meeting of Jesuit Procurators, and then goes to Japan.
July 16—He is sent into exile in Córdoba by his superiors and serves as spiritual director and confessor in the Jesuit church there for the next twenty-two months.
May 20—Pope John Paul II appoints him Auxiliary Bishop to Cardinal Antonio Quarracino, for the Archdiocese of Buenos Aires.
June 27—He is ordained Bishop and becomes Episcopal Vicar of the Flores district in Buenos Aires.
December 21—Cardinal Quarracino appoints him Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Buenos Aires.
June 3—Pope John Paul II appoints him Coadjutor Archbishop of Buenos Aires.
February 28—Following the death of Cardinal Quarracino, he becomes Archbishop, Primate of Argentina and ordinary for the Eastern-Rite faithful in Argentina who have no Ordinary of their own rite.
February 21—Pope John Paul II makes him Cardinal.
October—He is appointed general rapporteur to the Tenth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the Episcopal Ministry, after Cardinal Edward Egan, Archbishop of New York, has to return home.
April—He participates in the conclave that elects Pope Benedict XVI. He is the runner-up in that election.
He is president of the Argentine Bishops Conference.
May—He plays a key role in the assembly of the general conference of the Latin American Episcopal Conferences at Aparecida, Brazil, and is the chief editor of its final document.
December 17—He reaches the age of seventy-five and submits his letter of resignation to Pope Benedict XVI.
February 28—He attends the final meeting of cardinals with Pope Benedict XVI, who resigns that same day.
March 13—Cardinal Bergoglio is elected pope and takes the name of Francis.
June—He publishes the encyclical, Lumen fidei, “The Light of Faith.” It was mostly written by Benedict XVI.
July—He goes to the island of Lampedusa, off the coast of Sicily, to mourn the deaths of African immigrants in the Mediterranean Sea. It is his first papal visit in Italy.
July—He participates in the World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
October—He visits Assisi and prays at the tomb of St. Francis of Assisi.
November—He publishes the apostolic exhortation, Evangelii gaudium, “The Joy of the Gospel,” which is the programmatic document for his pontificate.
February—He creates nineteen new cardinals in his first consistory in St. Peter’s Basilica.
May—He makes a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, visiting Amman, Bethlehem, and Jerusalem.
August—He makes his first journey as pope to Asia, visiting Korea, for the sixth Asian Youth Day and the beatification of 124 Korean Martyrs.
- Having looked at this summary of Pope Francis’s history, do you see anything surprising there?
- Do you see anything in particular in this history that you believe has prepared him to be a good pope?
- Are there aspects of his life that you think might not have made much sense at the time?
On Wednesday, we’ll look at an excerpt from the book. If you’d like to start reading, buy one copy of this featured book, get the second at half off by using the code 4534 through 10/31/14. Shipping and handling are additional.