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Pope Francis turns 85: Some surprising facts about his life


Pope Francis is celebrating his 85th birthday on Dec. 17. Eighty-five years that began in the Flores neighborhood in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

The Pope has occasionally shared snippets from his past, including from his time in school. Once he shared a memory of a teacher he remembered especially fondly.

POPE FRANCIS
"She was a good teacher. She taught us how to write and read, she was great. Then, always, when I finished school, I always remembered her, because remembering one's first teacher is very important, because he or she is the one who sees you off into life first. And I would call her on the phone, as a kid, then as a priest. Then as a bishop, I helped her when she fell ill."

Besides Argentina and the Vatican, the Pope has lived in Chile, Spain, Ireland and Germany. He is fluent in Spanish, Italian and German, and conversational in a number of other languages, including French and English.

As Pope, he's often surprised the world with his unusual way of doing things.

For example, he was the first Pope since the first century who chose a name not used by a predecessor.

And during his first Holy Thursday celebration as pontiff, Pope Francis made headlines when he celebrated it with inmates at a prison in Rome.

But for him, it was nothing new. Already in Argentina, he had made it his custom to celebrate the washing of feet in places like jails, hospitals, retirement homes or slums.

During his first canonization celebration, on May 12, 2013, Pope Francis surpassed Pope John Paul II's record in canonizing the most saints in a single pontificate. He did this when he canonized the 813 Martyrs of Otranto, who had been executed by the Ottomans in 1480.

But before becoming Pope Francis, Jorge Bergoglio held a number of very different jobs, from a bouncer at a club to a chemist in a lab. In fact, when he was younger, he had a very different idea for his future.

POPE FRANCIS
“I changed my mind, obviously. But to answer your question, when I was little, I wanted to be a butcher. I would have loved that.”

Now, at 85 years old, Pope Francis continues to surprise the world with his words and actions.

CT

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