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Saint Francis Borgia, SJ
(1510-1572)
Third General Superior of the Jesuits

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SPAIN, 2010, personalized stamp and show cancel
for the 10th Expositión Filatélica Autonómica Competiva, Federación Valenciana, Gandia (3 to 17 September 2010)
honoring the 5th centenary of the birth of Borgia.
SPAIN, 2010, personalized stamp for the 500th anniversary of the birth of St. Francis Borgia (October 28, 1510)
With the saint is seen the Hermitage of the Magdelene, in Oñati where he stayed from 8 April 1551 to 29 March 1553

St. Francis Borgia, SJ (1510-1572) was a great grandson of Pope Alexander VI, one-time Duke of Gandia, and the third superior general of the Society of Jesus. He was in charge of the household of the Emperor Charles V. The death of Charles' wife, the Empress Isabella, led directly to Borgia's conversion, and after the death of his own wife he entered the Society.

Once Borgia had made his decision to a become Jesuit and while he was still in Rome, the Jesuits heard the rumor that the Pope, Julius II, wanted 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. His determination to leave the nobility and to become a Jesuit was made public only after he had arrived at Oñati. Oñati was chosen as the appropriate place for Borgia to go to meditate and to prepare himself for his priestly ordination largely because of it location and because the Jesuits already had a splendid house in its center. But to Borgia it seemed a bit too luxurious and not really appropriate for his intentions, because he wanted some place humbler and more remote. On 3 May 1551 he moved to the Hermitage of the Magdalene where they lent him use of a simple house attached to the hermitage. On 11 May, before a notary public, Borgia formally renounced his titles and income, disposed of his clothing, cut his beard as symbol of renunciation of worldly pomp, put on the Jesuit habit and took up the trappings of a mendicant. Pope Julius III authorized him to receive Holy Orders, and he was ordained priest on 23 May 1551 in Oñati. He delayed his first solemn Mass at Ignatius' recommendation, but went to Loyola to celebrate a private mass in Loyola castle. His first solemn public Mass was on 15 November 1551 in the neighboring town of Bergara. It was said that more than ten thousand persons amended the Mass, celebrated outside because the crowds could not fit into the parish church of Saint Peter. For several months Borgia lived alone in the isolated hermitage and got his life in order. People came from the vicinity of Oñati to confess to him, as did men of recognized social standing who came to listen to "the Holy Duke". News of his conversion and retirement from worldly affairs was the talk of all Spain. Borgia remained at Oñati until 29 March 1553.

  
USA, 1952 postmark for De Borgia, Montana. The official state travel site says "the town derives its name from the St. Regis DeBorgia River
named in 1841 by Father DeSmet in honor of St. Francis DeBorgia. Two saints are thus conflated: St. John Francis Regis, SJ and St. Francis (de) Borgia, SJ!
SPAIN, 1972, show cancel, Borgia offering Mass
BRAZIL, 1995, postmark for São Borja, State of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil

 

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