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Patron Saint

St. Francis Borgia






St. Francis Borgia, was born Francisco de Borja y Aragon, 4e duque (4th duke) de Gandīa, on Oct. 28, 1510 in Gandía, Spain. His father was Juan Borgia, 3rd Duke of Gandía, his paternal grandfather was Giovanni Borgia, the second son of Pope Alexander VI (Rodrigo Borgia).  His mother was the granddaughter of the King of Aragon. As a child he was very pious and desired to become a monk. In 1528 he received a position in the court of Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor (known as King Charles I of Spain) and through King Charles I, he married Eleanor de Castro, a Portuguese noblewoman. Together they had eight children. He held various appointments in King Charles court the court, distinguishing himself and was given tasks such as accompanying the Emperor on several campaigns until 1538. A year later, he was made viceroy of the Spanish region of Catalonia, and carried out many social and economic reforms in the region.  For instance, in Barcelona, he cleared the streets of robbers, built schools, appointed fair judges, assisted people in debt, and gave generous alms to the poor. In 1543, his father passed away and left St. Francis Borgia to become the Duke of Gandia. At that same time, Emperor Charles V appointed him as master of the household of his son and heir, Prince Philip. His diplomatic abilities came into question when he failed to unite Spain and Portugal through a marriage arrangement. He retired shortly after and devoted his time to religious activities. This was a continual devotion for St. Francis Borgia despite his prestigious career.

After his wife died in 1546, he was left to raise their children and founded the Jesuit College in Gandia after making the Jesuits his protectors. However, he desired more, and two years later he made a vow to the Jesuits, and after establishing stability for his children he left for Rome in 1550 and was received into the Jesuits by St. Ignatius of Loyola. He returned to Spain in 1551 and was ordained a priest. As a priest, St. Francis Borgia established a book of rules for the Jesuit order that ensured spiritual and intellectual formation, and an apostolic character. He even was instrumental in the re-establishment of sacred music. Popes wanted to make him a Cardinal but his humility would not allow him to accept such a position. His successes during his time as general of the order caused historians to describe Francis as the greatest General after Saint Ignatius. His humble life regarded him to be considered a saint in his own lifetime.

St. Francis Borgia died on September 30, 1572 in Rome. He was beatified in November 1624 by Pope Urban VIII and canonized in June 1670 by Pope Clement X. His feast day is celebrated on October 10. St. Francis Borgia Parish in Cedarburg was named in 1840 because some of our first pastors, including the famous Martin Kundig, were Jesuits. Both of our churches have a statue of St. Francis Borgia.


 Additional Information

The New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia provides more detailed information on the life of St. Francis Borgia.