Why the name Francis? It symbolizes poverty and peace

VATICAN CITY - (AP) Francis, the name the new pope has chosen, is a much-beloved Italian saint who is identified with peace, poverty and a simple lifestyle.

Jorge Bergoglio is the first pontiff from Latin America and the first pontiff to adopt the name of Francis, the rich young man from Assisi who renounced wealth and founded the Franciscan order of friars in 1290.

The choice could foretell the pope's priorities in striving to bring a sense of serenity to the troubled church. St. Francis is said to have been called by God to repair a church in ruins.

Choosing the name of one of Italy's patron saints also ties the new pope to Italy, the homeland of all popes of the last few centuries until 1978.

A list of popes from the 20th and 21st centuries:

Pope Francis -- March 13, 2013-
Benedict XVI -- April 19, 2005-Feb. 28, 2013.
John Paul II -- Oct. 16, 1978-April 2, 2005.
John Paul I -- Aug. 26-Sept. 28, 1978.
Paul VI -- June 21, 1963-Aug. 6, 1978.
John XXIII -- Oct. 28, 1958-June 3, 1963.
Pius XII -- March 2, 1939-Oct. 9, 1958.
Pius XI -- Feb. 6, 1922-Feb. 10, 1939.
Benedict XV -- Sept. 3, 1914-Jan. 22, 1922.
Pius X -- Aug. 4, 1903-Aug. 20, 1914.
Leo XIII -- Feb. 20, 1878-July 20, 1903.

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