Francis Borgia, 4th Duke of Gandía
|Saint Francis Borgia|
28 October 1510|
Duchy of Gandía, Valencia, Kingdom of Spain
|Died||30 September 1572
Rome, Papal States
|Honored in||Roman Catholic Church|
|Beatified||23 November 1624, Madrid, Kingdom of Spain by Pope Urban VIII|
|Canonized||20 June 1670, Rome by Pope Clement X|
|Major shrine||His relics were translated to the Jesuit church in Madrid, Spain in 1901|
10 October (General Roman Calendar 1688-1969)
|Attributes||Skull crowned with an emperor's diadem|
|Patronage||against earthquakes; Portugal; Rota, Marianas|
Saint Francis Borgia, S.J., 4th Duke of Gandía (Catalan: Francesc de Borja, Spanish: Francisco de Borja) (Gandía, 28 October 1510 – 30 September 1572, Rome) was a Grandee of Spain, a Spanish Jesuit, and third Superior General of the Society of Jesus. He was canonized on 20 June 1670 by Pope Clement X.
Early life 
He was born Francesco Borgia de Candia d'Aragon in the Duchy of Gandía, Valencia on 28 October 1510. His father was Juan Borgia, 3rd Duke of Gandía, the son of Giovanni Borgia, the son of Pope Alexander VI (Rodrigo Borgia). His mother was Juana, daughter of Alonso de Aragón, Archbishop of Zaragoza, who, in turn, was the illegitimate son of King Ferdinand II of Aragon. His brother, Tomás de Borja y Castro, also became a clergyman, becoming the Bishop of Málaga, and later the Archbishop of Zaragoza.
Although as a child he was very pious and wished to become a monk, his family sent him instead to the court of Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor (who was also King Charles I of Spain). He distinguished himself there, accompanying the Emperor on several campaigns.
Adult life and career 
In September 1526 at age 16, he married a Portuguese noblewoman in Madrid, Eleanor de Castro Melo e Menezes. They had eight children: Carlos in 1530, Isabel in 1532, Juan in 1533, Álvaro circa 1535, Juana also circa 1535, Fernando in 1537, Dorotea in 1538, and Alfonso in 1539.
In 1539, he convoyed the corpse of Isabella of Portugal, Philip II of Spain's mother, to her burial place in Granada. It is said that, when he saw the effect of death on the beautiful empress, he decided to "never again serve a mortal master."
In 1543 upon the death of his father, the 3rd Duke, Francis became the 4th Duke of Gandía. By then 33 years old he had retired to his native place and devoted himself to religious activities.
Jesuit priest 
In 1546 his wife Eleanor died, and Francis then decided to enter the newly formed Society of Jesus, after making adequate provisions for his children.
He put his affairs in order circa 1550, renounced his titles in favour of his eldest son Luis de Borja-Aragon y de Castro-Melo, and became a Jesuit priest. Because of his high birth, great abilities and Europe-wide fame, he was immediately offered a cardinal's hat. This, however, he refused, preferring the life of an itinerant preacher. In time, however, his friends persuaded him to accept the leadership role that nature and circumstances had destined him for: in 1554, he became the Jesuit commissary-general in Spain; and, in 1565, the third "Father General" or Superior General of the Society of Jesus, because of the death in January 1565 of Diego Laynez, (Almazán, Spain, 1512 - January 1565).
His successes during the period 1565-1572 have caused historians to describe Francis as the greatest General after Saint Ignatius. He founded the Collegium Romanum, which was to become the Gregorian University, dispatched missionaries to distant corners of the globe, advised kings and popes, and closely supervised all the affairs of the rapidly expanding order. Yet, despite the great power of his office, Francis led a humble life, and was widely regarded in his own lifetime as a saint.
Francis Borgia died on 10 October 1572, in Rome. He was beatified in Madrid on 23 November 1624, by Pope Gregory XV. He was canonized nearly 35 years later on 20 June 1670, by Pope Clement X. His liturgical feast was inserted into the Roman Catholic calendar of saints in 1688 for celebration on 10 October, the date then free from other celebrations that was closest to that of his death. Owing to the limited importance of his feast worldwide, his commemoration was removed in 1969 from the General Roman Calendar, but kept in the Roman Martyrology for celebration on his dies natalis (his birth into Heaven), 30 September. Some traditionalist Catholics continue to observe pre-1970 calendars.
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As the great-great grandfather of Doña Luisa de Guzman, queen consort of King John IV of Portugal, he is an ancestor of many of the royal houses of Europe.
- Candido de Dalmases, Francis Borgia. Grandee of Spain, Jesuit, Saint, Saint-Louis, 1991
- Candido de Dalmases, El Padre Francisco de Borja, Madrid, 1983.24 pages. Madrid: Editorial Católica, (1983). ISBN, 8422011166, ISBN 978-84-220-1116-3
- Margaret Yeo, The greatest of the Borgias, New York, 1936, 374 pages
- Enrique García Hernán, Sanctus Franciscus Borgia: Quartus Gandiae Dux et Societatis Iesu Praepositus Generalis Tertius, 1510-1572 , Volumen 156, Monumenta Borgia Series Volumes 156-157, Monumenta Historica Societatis Iesu (1903) (new edition by Edit. Generalitat Valeciana, 2003).
- Enrique García Hernán, Francisco de Borja, Grande de España, 1999 reprint by Institució Alfons el Magnànim, (Diputació de Valência), of the 1903 edition, 292 pages, ISBN 84-7822-275-8
- Francisco de Borja, Santo y Duque de Gandia (1510-2010) by several authors in several subjects, Bromera edit., 2010, ISBN 978-84-9824-634-6
- Angel Santos Hernandez, Jesuitas y Obispados: la Compañia de Jesús y las dignidades eclesiasticas,(1999), 539 pages,in Spanish, Universidad Pontificia de Comillas edit. ISBN 978-84-89708-48-8, http://books.google.es/books?id=QRzrJ9EPmaIC. a Google book to be found under:
- Patron Saints Index: Saint Francis Borgia
- Catholic Encyclopedia: St. Francis Borgia
- Tradition in Action - Saint of the Day: St. Francis Borgia
- (Spanish) Diario Borja - Borgia
- (Spanish) Borja - Wikipedia, la enciclopedia libre
- (Spanish) Borgia - Wikipedia, la enciclopedia libre
- (Spanish) Borja o Borgia
- (Spanish) Francisco Fernández de Bethencourt - Historia Genealógica y Heráldica Española, Casa Real y Grandes de España, tomo cuarto
- (Spanish) Una rama subsistente del linaje Borja en América española, por Jaime de Salazar y Acha, Académico de Número de la Real Academia Matritense de Heráldica y Genealogía
- (Spanish) Boletín de la Real Academia Matritense de Heráldica y Genealogía
|Catholic Church titles|
|Superior General of the Society of Jesus