Saint Francis Borgia – From Duke to Priesthood

Jude Missa

Many people will choose to have a title or position or become a member of the Royal family. But in the 16th century, one man chose to serve our Lord Jesus Christ than titles, positions and even his loyal name. This man was Saint Francis Borgia. Saint Francis Borgia was the son of the Third Duke of Gandia and great grandson of Pope Alexander XVI. When he was young, he wanted to become a priest, but when he was 18 years old, he was sent to the Imperial Court by his parents under the Emperor of Rome and King of Spain, King Charles V.

In 1528, while travelling to Valladolid, he met a poor man with the Servant of Inquisitions who will be imprisoned. They exchanged glances and wished that he will meet this poor man again in the future. This poor man is Saint Ignatius of Loyola. In 1529, Saint Francis married a Portuguese Noblewoman named Leonora, and they had eight children. Then in 1539, he become the Viceroy of Catalonia at the age of 29.

In 1543, Saint Francis’ father died he became the Fourth Duke of Gandia. When his wife died in 1546, he decided to improve his faith and enter the newly formed religious order, the Society of Jesus. In 1551, He renounce his title and give it his eldest son. Then he joined the Society of Jesus and meet the person that he wished to see again, the founder of the Society of Jesus, Saint Ignatius of Loyola. Saint Francis become popular because of his decisions and inspired many nobles to enter priesthood.

Because he came from the noble family, his superiors commanded him to cook, to gather wood, cleaning the kitchen and things that he never did when he was a Duke, when he serve the food of his fellow Jesuits, he bends his knee to them and ask for forgiveness because he is clumsy. And he never complaint about his works. When he came from a mission in Peru, Pope Julius III wants Saint Francis to become a Cardinal. To avoid the wish of the pope, he seeks help to Saint Ignatius and he secretly leave to Basque.

In 1554, he was assigned by Saint Ignatius, as commisary in Spain where he built 12 colleges and one novitiate. Then in 1565, he became the Superior General of the Jesuits. In September 30, 1572, Saint Francis Borgia died at the age of 61.

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