March 13, 2013 / 10:00 PM / 6 years ago

Franciscans welcome Pope Francis I as herald of simplicity

Newly elected Pope Francis (C), Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina appears on the balcony of St. Peter's Basilica after being elected by the conclave of cardinals, at the Vatican, March 13, 2013. White smoke rose from the Sistine Chapel chimney and the bells of St. Peter's Basilica rang out on Wednesday, signaling that Roman Catholic cardinals had elected a pope to succeed Benedict XVI. REUTERS/Tony Gentile (VATICAN - Tags: RELIGION)

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - The monks at the convent of St. Francis in Assisi were overjoyed on Wednesday when Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Argentina was elected and decided to be the first pontiff in Catholic history to take the name Francis.

“For us in the Basilica in Assisi that holds the body (of St. Francis, this choice (of a name) prompted a surge of admiration ...,” said Father Mauro Gambetti, the abbot of the monastery.

St. Francis still points to the path of humility and evangelical simplicity ... the path that the new pope indicated in his first words addressed to the Church,” he said.

“That Church, which for St. Francis is the face of tenderness, is ready to encounter every man and recognize him as a brother. That is the face of tenderness that we saw in Pope Francis,” he said.

St. Francis, who died in 1226, is associated with peace and simplicity. He relinquished his earthly goods and lived a life of poverty and simplicity.

He was the founder of the Franciscan order of priests and nuns, who run schools, hospitals and charities around the world.

Reporting By Philip Pullella; editing by Keith Weir

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