As a “Jesuit with a Franciscan heart,” the pope shares why he chose the name Francis in honor of the great saint from Assisi. “For me, he is the man of poverty, the man of peace, the man who loves and safeguards creation. In this moment when our relationship with creation is not so good…, he is the man who gives us this spirit of peace, the poor man… Oh, how I wish for a Church that is poor and for the poor!”
“At the election, I had the archbishop emeritus of Sao Paulo next to me. He is also prefect emeritus of the Congregation for the Clergy, Cardinal Claudio Hummes [O.F.M.]: a dear, dear friend. When things were getting a little ‘dangerous,’ he comforted me. And then, when the votes reached the two-thirds, there was the usual applause because the Pope had been elected. He hugged me and said: ‘Do not forget the poor.’ And that word stuck here; the poor, the poor. Then, immediately in relation to the poor I thought of Francis of Assisi. Then I thought of war, while the voting continued, until all the votes [were counted]. And so the name came to my heart: Francis of Assisi.
For me he is the man of poverty, the man of peace, the man who loves and safeguards Creation. In this moment when our relationship with Creation is not so good — right? — he is the man who gives us this spirit of peace, the poor man… Oh, how I wish for a Church that is poor and for the poor!”
Taken from the a special edition of Fraternitas, a monthly e-newsletter of OFM international news, which was dedicated to Pope Francis.