New Pope Names Himself after St. Francis of Assisi

Pope Francis during an appearance at the Vatican.Never before has a pope named himself Francis, but that changed when Jorge Mario Bergoglio was chosen as the next Catholic pope. A Vatican spokesman has now confirmed that Jorge named himself after the saint of Assisi, rather than the 16th-century Jesuit missionary. You can learn more about the original St. Francis, known for his ministry to the poor, during a culinary trip to Umbria and a visit to the charming Umbrian city of Assisi, which is a town we definitely recommend seeing.

CNN Vatican expert John Allen says, St. Francis of Assisi’s name symbolizes “poverty, humility, simplicity, and rebuilding the Catholic church. The new pope is sending a signal that this will not be business as usual.”

A view of Assisi visited during a culinary tour of ItalyLearn more about Assisi.

As for Francis of the 1200s, his religious conversion occurred as he prayed in a chapel near his birthplace city of Assisi. He is known for sacrificing all of his possessions, taking a vow of poverty, and founding the Franciscan order of the Friars Minor.

During a handful of our Umbria and Tuscany cooking vacations, take a tour of Assisi, visit a number of stunning churches – including the Basilica di San Francesco, which houses a variety of sacred relics and frescoes from the saint’s lifetime – and discover why the city has been a major pilgrimage destination for centuries.

A Swiss Guard outside of St. Peter's in Rome.Add on a stay in Assisi during one of our Umbria culinary vacations, such as Food Lover’s Paradise in Norcia, Secrets of Spoleto, or Cooking and Walking in Umbria. Or visit it during our Tuscan Splendor cooking vacation near Cortona.

And check out the papal audience during a stay in Rome!

By Liz SanFilippo Hall

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Originally published March 18, 2013.

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