Sharing Roots with Pope Francis

mcgrath Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet | Sister Marian Cowan Shares Thoughts on Pope Francis

Image by Brother Mickey O’Neill McGrath 


A Reflection by Sister Marian Cowan, CSJ

Habemus Papam!

While waiting for this announcement and the words that would identify our new pope, I thought about what a Sister of St. Joseph would bring to that august office. How would she be one with the dear neighbor from whom she does not separate herself? She would definitely work for unity of neighbor with neighbor and neighbor with God. What would the effect be on the Curia, I mused. 

Then I heard the announcement: “Jorge Mario Bergoglio, SJ.” SJ? A Jesuit Pope? Good! He may not be a Sister of St. Joseph, but we do share the same spiritual background in our Ignatian roots.

Pope Francis has been living an unpretentious lifestyle as Archbishop of Buenos Aires, in the spirit of St. Francis of Assisi, choosing to relinquish the trappings associated with the elite status of “Princes of the Church.”

This is also in the spirit of St. Ignatius, who gave his fine clothes to a beggar and donned the simple vesture of a pilgrim, leaving the castle of Loyola to live in abject poverty in Manresa after his conversion from being a courtly warrior in the service of an earthly king to becoming a humble follower of Christ the King.  

The Sisters of St. Joseph’s Ignatian spirituality, a heritage handed down to us by Jean Pierre Medialle mainly through our Maxims, draws us to unpretentiousness also. We seem to resonate already with our new pontiff, with his heart for the poor and oppressed.

We wait to see how Pope Francis will transfer his lifestyle of an archbishop among the people without distinction to Vatican City and his new appointment. We are certainly keeping this man, our brother Francis, in our prayer. Change is not easy, as we well know. Perhaps Pope Francis will be able to set an unprecedented example for us as we face the changes that lie before us.

Vive il Papa!

Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet | Sister Marian Cowan

Sister Marian Cowan is a spiritual director,
artist and expert on Ignatian spirituality.


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