Pope Francis, who is arguably one of the most influential people in the world, is embarking on a tour of the United States. It is his first visit to the U.S. To learn some fast facts about Francis, who was elected the 266th pope by 115 cardinals March 13, 2013, including his real name, continue reading below (facts courtesy of CNN and the Telegraph).
1. Popes choose a name when they are elected. Francis named himself after St. Francis of Assisi, the Italian Catholic friar and preacher who became the patron saint of animals and the environment after Pope Gregory IX pronounced him a saint.
2. Pope Francis was formerly known as Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio.
3. Though he is from Argentina, he is of Italian ancestry. His parents emigrated to Argentina in the 1920s to escape the fascist regime of Benito Mussolini.
4. He was born Dec. 17, 1936.
5. The pope said Aug. 30, 2015, that priests should forgive the “sin of abortion.”
6. He was the eldest of five children; his only living sibling is a sister, Maria Elena Bergoglio.
7. He has only one lung. One became infected when he was 21 and was removed.
8. It was once claimed in an email chain that he “never smiled.”
9. He was named Time magazine's Person of the Year in 2013.
10. He is the first Jesuit pope, the first Latin American pope and the first non-European pope in more than 1,000 years.
11. He earned a certificate in chemistry from a technical school and a degree in philosophy from the Colegio de San José in San Miguel, Buenos Aires.
12. Before he was archbishop, he taught literature, philosophy, theology and psychology.
13. Francis is known for his frugality. He reportedly took the bus when he was archbishop of Buenos Aires and cooked all his own meals. After he was elected pope, there were rumors that he sneaked out of the Vatican at night.
14. He despises the popemobile, a vehicle that was created to keep pontiffs safe after John Paul II was shot May 13, 1981.
15. He reportedly had the second-most votes during the papal election in 2005. Pope Benedict XVI was ultimately elected and served until resigning in 2013.
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