Monday, October 10, 2016

St. Francis Borgia, SJ

Today is the feast day of a great man that richly deserves better recognition, especially in the United States: St. Francis Borgia, SJ (+1572AD).

St. Francis Borgia by Alonso Cano, 1624AD.

St. Francis Borgia was, as his name implies, a member of the infamous Borgia of Spain that gave the Church two Popes: Calixtus III (reigned 1455-1458AD) and the more famous Alexander VI (reigned 1492-1503).  Indeed, St. Francis, the 4th Duke of Gandia, was the great-grandson of Alexander VI.  He served in the court of Emperor Charles V, also known as King Charles I of Spain, and his participation in the transfer of the corpse of the beautiful Empress Isabella of Portugal, wife of Charles V (I), in 1539, did much to confirm his earlier pious inclinations.  Still, he was married with eight children.  From 1539-1543AD he served as Viceroy of Catalonia, despite his relative youth (born in 1510AD).

File:Isabella of Portugal by Titian.jpg
Empress Isabella of Portugal, by Titian.  Seeing this monarch in death cemented the conversion of St. Francis.

Upon the death of his wife in 1546, St. Francis Borgia sought entry into the relatively new Society of Jesus -- the Jesuits.  Indeed, his sanctity and administrative experience helped him rise to become the third Superior General of the Order, and one of its greatest, from 1565-1572AD.

Here was a great saint from a stock that had caused the Church scandal in the past.  God, indeed, brings great good even from evil!

For more on St. Francis, you may consult:
Old Catholic Encyclopedia: St. Francis Borgia

Catholic Saints Info: St. Francis Borgia

Live well!

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