Ten things you didn't know about the Pope

Surprising facts

It is exactly one year since the Pope's election and there are still many things most people do not know about Francis. Here is a list of 10 things people should know about the Pope, reports CNS/The Catholic Weekly.

1. Has a way with birds: Pope Francis expertly handled a white dove and a green parrot during different general audiences in St Peter’s Square. According to the Pope’s sister, Maria Elena Bergoglio, he had a parrot when he was in the seminary. And because he loved to play jokes, she said, 'I wouldn’t put it past him that he taught the little beast a swear word or two instead of how to pray.' 

2. Has colourful work experience on his resume: In addition to having worked sweeping floors in a factory and running tests in a chemical laboratory as a teenager, the Pope also used to work as a bouncer. Later, when he was no longer kicking troublemakers out of clubs, he taught high school literature and psychology, which, he said, helped him discover the secret to bringing people back ... to church. 

3. Was a Jesuit Oskar Schindler: When then-Fr Bergoglio was head of the Jesuit province in Argentina, he ran a clandestine network that sheltered or shuttled to safety people whose lives were in danger during the nation’s murderous military-backed dictatorship. 

According to witnesses, the future Pope never let on to anyone what he was doing, and those who were helping him find rides or temporary housing for 'guests' never realised they had been part of his secret strategy until years later. 

4. Is a homebody with missionary zeal: Even though he has travelled extensively, the future Pope considered himself 'a homebody' who easily gets homesick. However, he wanted to join the Society of Jesus because of its image as being 'on the frontlines' for the Church and its work in mission lands. 

He wanted to serve as a missionary in Japan, but he said his superiors wouldn’t let him because they were concerned about his past health problems. 

5. Has an achy back: When the Pope was 21, the upper half of his right lung was removed after cysts caused a severe lung infection. While that episode never caused him further health problems, he said his current complaint is sciatica. 

FULL STORY Top 10 things most people don’t know about Pope Francis (CNS/The Catholic Weekly)

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