Saint Francis Borgia

St. Francis Borgia (1510-1572) was born in Spain to a noble family, the son of a Duke. On his father's side of the family he was the great-grandson of Pope Alexander VI, one of the notorious "Borgia Popes," and on his mother's side he was the great-grandson of King Ferdinand of Aragon. Francis joined the Spanish court of King Charles V at the age of 18, married, and had 8 children. In 1539 he experienced a profound religious conversion which caused him to renounce the pomp of the royal court, yet he continued his life of public service as the Viceroy of Catalonia. He made great progress in the spiritual life, and after his father's death he became the Duke of Gandia. He built a university and invited the newly-founded Society of Jesus to work in his duchy. After the death of his wife, and after providing for his children, he joined the Jesuits in Rome and was given a prominent position in the order by St. Ignatius of Loyola. Under Francis' leadership and reforms, the Jesuits advanced to such a great extent that he is considered to be their second founder. In the years following Ignatius' death, Francis became head of the order and established Jesuit missions in multiple countries. He also counseled his missionaries in both practical strategies as well as spiritual discipline. St. Francis of Borgia was a celebrated preacher and a key figure in the Counter-Reformation movement. His feast day is October 10th.
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