When I heard what name Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio had chosen for his Papacy, I smiled and thought: “How fitting.” Francis. While I am not Catholic (although I did go to a Catholic college) my favorite saint is Francis of Assisi and I knew without even watching this video that that was who his inspiration was.

Saint Francis (Francis of Assisi or San Francisco for my latino amigos) lived a luxurious life during his adolescence but slowly began to see his love of money, luxury, and beauty was his biggest downfall. He started giving everything he had away or disposing of it anyway he could. He slowly gained followers and they took up the passage Matthew 19:16-26 (the story where Jesus commanded the rich young ruler to sell everything and give to the poor) as their adage. Saint Francis served the poor from then on.

While Latin America holds the largest percentage of the Catholic population with 39%, or over 425 million of the world’s Catholics living there, it also has about 167 million people living in poverty. This number is also significant as it marks the lowest level of poverty in Latin America in three decades. Pope Francis lived in Latin America during a time where the continent had some of its biggest struggles with class and unequal distribution of wealth. He has seen first hand the devastating affects that poverty can have on people and society and during his time as a Cardinal there he chose to live alongside the poor rather than above them just as Saint Francis had done. I suspect this will be his approach to his papacy as well.

¡Viva el papa de Latinoamérica, el papa de la pobre!

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“How I would love a Church that is poor and for the poor!” –Pope Francis

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