Pope talks about his favourite saints

Eight favourites

Who are the holy figures Pope Francis looks up to? He has revealed many of them in recent interviews. While a top-eight list does emerge, the Pope refused to give them a ranking, reports the Catholic News Service.

'Rankings are for sports or things like that. I could tell you the name of the best soccer players in Argentina. But the saints ..." he told Eugenio Scalfari in an interview published gthis week by the Italian daily, La Repubblica.

Here then, in no exact order, are the saints Pope Francis has a particular fondness for or credits with playing an important role in his religious formation. The names are taken from the La Repubblica interview; the September 19 interview with the Jesuit journal, La Civilta Cattolica; and a 2010 book-length compilation of interviews with Sergio Rubin and Francesca Ambrogetti, titled Pope Francis: Conversations with Jorge Bergoglio.

St Augustine: This fifth-century church father and theologian is a favorite of retired Pope Benedict XVI and for his successor.

In a talk on the saint's feast day August 28, Pope Francis said Christians must follow St. Augustine's example and refuse to become "anesthetised by success, by things, by power," but let themselves be restless for God. They also must never tire of sharing the good news of God's love and promise of salvation with others who are as lost as the saint was.

St Francis of Assisi: The pope took his name after this 13th-century Italian friar.

St Paul the Apostle: 'St. Paul is the one who laid down the cornerstones of our religion and our creed. You cannot be a conscious Christian without St. Paul. He translated the teachings of Christ into a doctrinal structure that, even with the additions of a vast number of thinkers, theologians and pastors, has resisted and still exists after two thousand years,' he told La Repubblica.

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