Saint Louis University

Pope Francis I
Pope Francis I. AP photo

For the first time in the history, a Jesuit will lead the Roman Catholic Church.

Jorge Mario Bergoglio, S.J., Cardinal of Argentina and Archbishop of Buenos Aires, was elected pope by the College of Cardinals on Wednesday. He has taken the name Francis.

The 76-year-old is the first pope from Latin America. He succeeds retired Pope Benedict XVI.

Paul Stark, S.J., vice president for Mission and Ministry at Saint Louis University, said it is an honor for the Society of Jesus that a Jesuit was elected to serve as the 266th pope. Moreover, he said that the SLU community can feel a sense a pride.

"Pope Francis is a simple and ordinary man known for his humility and his service to the poor," Stark said. "At SLU, we join the joy of the world, both for the election of Pope Francis, and that he is a Jesuit who brings all the richness of the works of the Society of Jesus to the universal Church."

Cardinal Bergoglio entered the Society of Jesus in 1958 and was ordained as a priest in 1969. He has academic background, having taught at Jesuit institutions in Argentina.

In his leadership roles, Cardinal Bergoglio has created new parishes, led pro-life initiatives and started new pastoral programs. In addition, he has published books on spirituality and meditation.

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