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Saint Francis Borgia

Saint Francis Borgia
  • Century: 16th Century
  • Patronage: Against Earthquakes, Portugal, Rota, Marianas
  • Feast Day: October 10th

St. Francis Borgia was born in Valencia, on October 8th, 1510.  His father was Juan Borgia, the third Duke of Gandia, and the grandson of Pope Alexander VI, Rodrigo Borgia.  His mother was Juana, daughter of Alonso de Aragon, the Archbishop of Zaragoza.  His brother also became a clergyman, becoming the Bishop of Malaga, and then the Archbishop of Zaragoza.  He was a pious child, and wanted to become a monk, but his family sent him to serve the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V.  

At the age of sixteen, he married Eleanor, a noblewoman from Portugal.  They had eight children.  In 1539, he convoyed the corpse of Isabella of Portugal, Phillip II of Spain’s mother to her burial place in Granada.  Seeing the death of a beautiful empress, he decided to never again, serve a mortal master.  However, being 29, he was made viceroy of Catalonia, and upon the death of his father, became the 4th Duke of Gandia.  Now at the age of 33, he and his wife Eleanor and their family, devoted their lives entirely to Jesus Christ and the Catholic Church.   

In 1546, his wife Eleanor died, and Francis entered the Society of Jesus, a Jesuit Order.  He provided for his children, and renounced his titles, his oldest son taking over, and became a Jesuit Priest.  Because of his high birth and fame as a Duke, he was immediately offered a Cardinal’s hat.  He declined, preferring a life as a preacher.  He became the Jesuits commissary general in Spain, the third Father General or Superior General of the Society of Jesus.  

St. Francis Borgia died on September 30th, 1572 in Rome.  He was beatified in 1624, by Pope Gregory XV, and canonized in 1670 by Pope Clement X.  His relics were transferred to the Jesuit Shrine in Madrid, Spain, where they can be venerated today.  

Practical Take Away

St. Francis Borgia was born into nobility, and was destined to become the Duke when his father passed.  His desire was to serve the Church, but that would not happen until later.  He married, and had 8 children.  Upon the death of his wife, he relinquished his titles over to his oldest son, to take over as Duke, and he joined the Jesuit order.  He became the 3rd Superior General of the Society of Jesus.  His life shows us that by following the will of God, we can be fulfilled.  He not only served his duty as a nobleman and became the Duke of Gandia, but also upon the death of his wife, handed those reigns over to his oldest son, and became a Jesuit Priest and their Superior General.