Why Did the Pope Pick the Name Francis?

Question: Everyone is saying the pope picked Francis after St. Francis of Assisi. Is it possible he picked it after St. Francis Xavier who was a Jesuit?

Pope Francis recently addressed this himself:

I will tell you the story. During the election, I was seated next to the Archbishop Emeritus of São Paolo and Prefect Emeritus of the Congregation for the Clergy, Cardinal Cláudio Hummes — a good friend, a good friend! When things were looking dangerous, he encouraged me. And when the votes reached two-thirds, there was the usual applause, because the Pope had been elected. And he gave me a hug and a kiss, and said, “Don’t forget the poor!” And those words came to me: the poor, the poor. Then, right away, thinking of the poor, I thought of Francis of Assisi.

Then, joking, he said that some of his fellow cardinals suggested he should take the name of Clement XV in order to “pay back Clement XIV, who suppressed the Jesuit order.”

To read a bit more on his speech check out this New Yorker article.

Mike Hayes

Mike Hayes

Mike co-founded BustedHalo.com in 2001. Currently, Mike is the director of campus ministry at Canisius College in Buffalo, New York. A frequent speaker on ministering to young adults, Mike is the author of "Googling God: The Religious Landscape of People in Their 20s and 30s" and "Loving Work: A Spiritual Guide to Finding the Work We Love and Bringing Love to the Work We Do."