Today is the feast of St. Francis Borgio, the third Superior General of the Society of Jesus. He was the great-grandson of the notorious Pope Alexander VI on his father’s side adn the great-grandson of King Ferdinand the Catholic on his mother’s. He was raised at the Spanish court and came to the realization that all was vanity, when he saw the disfigured body of Emperor Charles V’s wife, Isabella.
It was this incident that brought on his conversion and led him to lead a pentential life. After the death of his wife in 1546, Borgia entered the Society of Jesus and devoted himself fully to the various tasks that he was given. Among other things, he helped with the establishment of the Gregorian University and founded numerous other institutions of higher learning throughout Spain.
At the age of 55, St. Francis Borgia was elected to be the third Superior General of the Jesuits. During his term of office, he was responsible for the growth of the Society and the expansion of its missionary endeavors throughout the world. It was during this period of time that the Jesuit missions in Peru, Florida, and Mexico were founded.
St. Francis Borgia died in 1572 and was canonized 100 years later.
Let us think today about the fact that our lives are not eternal and how we should spend the rest of them worthily. As Robert Frost once wrote, “Nothing gold can stay.” This was what St. Francis Borgia saw at the Empress’s bier and what effected his conversion.
Our Lady of the Way, pray for us!
St. Francis Borgia, pray for us!