Francis Borgia, 4th Duke of Gandía
|Duke of Gandía |
|Born||28 October 1510|
Duchy of Gandía, Kingdom of Valencia, Spain
|Died||30 September 1572 (aged 61)|
Rome, Papal States
|Venerated in||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||Relics translated to Jesuit church in Madrid, 1901|
10 October (General Roman Calendar 1688–1969)
|Attributes||Skull crowned with an emperor's diadem|
|Patronage||Against earthquakes; Portugal; Gandía; Rota, Marianas|
Francis Borgia, 4th Duke of Gandía (Valencian: Francesc de Borja, Spanish: Francisco de Borja) (1510–1572), venerated as Saint Francis Borgia, was a great-grandson of Pope Alexander VI, 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.
He was born in 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), where he was welcomed as a kinsman. He distinguished himself there, accompanying the Emperor on several campaigns.
Adult life and career
In Madrid in the month of September 1529, he married a Portuguese noblewoman, Leonor de Castro Mello y Meneses. 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. Charles V appointed him Marquess of Lombay, master of the hounds, and equerry to the empress.
In 1539, he convoyed the corpse of Isabella of Portugal, Philip II of Spain's mother, to her burial place in Granada. In that same year (1539), he became Viceroy of Catalonia, replacing Fadrique de Portugal y Noroña, though he was only 29.
In these earlier years of his life he enjoyed composing musical ecclesiastical pieces. In these pieces he displayed a remarkable contrapuntal style, justifying the assertion that, "In the sixteenth century and prior to Palestrina, Borgia was one of the chief restorers of sacred music."
In 1543 upon the death of his father, the 3rd Duke, Francis became the 4th Duke of Gandía. His diplomatic abilities came into question after his failed attempt at arranging a marriage between Prince Philip of Spain and the Princess of Portugal, thus ending a hope of bringing these two countries together, and resulting in his retirement as duke, handing his title to his son, Carlos. By then 33 years old, he had retired to his native place and devoted himself to religious activities.
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 1551, renounced his titles in favour of his eldest son Carlos de Borja-Aragon y de Castro-Melo, and became a Jesuit priest. He helped in the establishment of what is now the Gregorian University in Rome. Upon Francis’ return from a journey to Peru, Pope Julius III made known his intention to make him a cardinal. To prevent this, Borgia decided, in agreement with St. Ignatius, to leave the city secretly and go to the Basque Country, where it was thought he would be safe from the papal desires. He felt drawn to spend time in seclusion and prayer, but his administrative talents also made him a natural for other tasks. In time 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, where he founded a dozen colleges. After only two years, St. Francis was also given responsibility for missions in the East and West Indies. In 1565, he was elected the third "Father General" or Superior General of the Society of Jesus, after 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, 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 in 1572.
Death and legacy
Francis Borgia died on 30 September 1572, in Rome. His mortal remains were repatriated to Spain in 1617 and kept from 1627 at the Jesuit professed house in Madrid that was newly built for that purpose north of Plaza Mayor on a donation from Francisco Gómez de Sandoval y Rojas, 1st Duke of Lerma. On 30 July 1901, the silver urn contained the relics was transferred to the church of the Sacred Church and San Francis Borgia on calle de la Flor Baja, part of a new Jesuit residence (later professed house from 1911) established thanks to a donation from Manuel Álvarez de Toledo. After that church was destroyed by arson in 1931, some of his ashes were recovered and eventually reinterred in the new Jesuit complex on calle de Serrano.
Francis Borgia was beatified in Madrid on 23 November 1624, by Pope Urban VIII. He was canonized nearly 35 years later on 20 June 1670, by Pope Clement X. His liturgical feast was inserted into the General Roman Calendar in 1688 for celebration on 10 October, the date then free from other celebrations that was closest to that of his death.
Parishes are dedicated to St. Francis Borgia in Chicago, Illinois, Sturgis, Kentucky, Washington, Missouri, Blair, Nebraska, and Cedarburg, Wisconsin. Also in the village of Isio in the town of Cauayan, Negros Occidental, Philippines. The Jesuit-founded city of São Borja, in southern Brazil, is named after him.
Saint Francis Borgia Regional High School is located in Washington, Missouri.
- Carlos, 5th Duke de Gandía
- Juan de Borja y Castro
- Fernando de Borja y Castro
|Ancestors of Francis Borgia, 4th Duke of Gandía|
Marc-Antoine Charpentier, Motet pour St François de Borgia, H.354, for 1 voice, 2 treble instruments, and continuo (? late 1680s)
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- 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, https://books.google.com/books?id=QRzrJ9EPmaIC. a Google book to be found under:
- María Rosa Urraca Pastor, San Francisco de Borja, Barcelona 1943
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Francis Borgia.|
|Wikisource has the text of a 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article about Francis Borgia.|
- Tradition in Action - Saint of the Day: St. Francis Borgia
- (in Spanish) Diario Borja - Borgia
- (in Spanish) Borja - Wikipedia, la enciclopedia libre
- (in Spanish) Borgia - Wikipedia, la enciclopedia libre
- (in Spanish) Borja o Borgia
- (in Spanish) Francisco Fernández de Bethencourt - Historia Genealógica y Heráldica Española, Casa Real y Grandes de España, tomo cuarto
- (in 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
- (in Spanish) Boletín de la Real Academia Matritense de Heráldica y Genealogía