Francis Borgia, Saint

Francis Borgia, Saint bôrˈjə [key], 1510–72, Spanish Roman Catholic reformer, third general of the Jesuits (see Jesus, Society of). He was a member of the famous Borgia family, a great-grandson of Pope Alexander VI, and cousin to Holy Roman Emperor Charles V. In 1528 he was received at the imperial court and at that time he witnessed St. Ignatius Loyola being taken to prison. This incident was to have great significance for him. He became duke of Gandia in 1543. After the death of his wife he resolved to become a Jesuit and went (1550) to St. Ignatius in Rome. He resigned his duchy by transferring his title and estates to his eldest son, and in 1551 became ordained. He provided the money to the Society for the building of the Roman College. He and St. Ignatius became close coworkers. The “duke turned Jesuit” became the talk of all Spain and he was called to preach in many cities. His example made a deep impression everywhere, and he was responsible for many high-born youths joining the order. In 1554 as commissary-general of the Society in Spain, he was given charge of all Jesuit missions. By 1566 he had founded missions in the New World. In 1565 he succeeded Lainez as master-general of the order. He published the rules for the order and established in Rome and elsewhere houses of study under his rule. Feast: Oct. 10.

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