|Fr. Alfonso Gómez, S.J|
Fr. Bergoglio, as superior of the community, was a cultivator of personal relationships. He was very concerned with the daily routine of the house, but he was even more concerned with the spiritual development of all the Jesuits. He was an attentive superior and one who always kept up an ongoing conversation with each of his seminarians. Once, an old brother, “Brother Recluse,” a man raised in the countryside, said: “You have the best Rector that I have seen. He knows you so well that he even knows the number of fleas on your head.” The house and the students did not have fleas, since everything was clean. But the expression was clear—he knew us all very well.
He emphasized that the Good Shepherd goes out to find the lost sheep (the sheep that have strayed the most); he cares for them; he gives them the best food; he works to nourish them; he watches them day and night; he is available; he neither gets discouraged in the face of adversity, nor does he flee danger.
The bad shepherd, on the other hand, contents himself with attending to a small group (“he grooms his sheep”); he worries more about his own well-being than about the sheep; he does not go out to find the stray sheep; he keeps his distance and does not get involvedAs Archbishop of Buenos Aires, the now Pope Francis became known for supporting those priests who live in the poorest places (the “villas”). He visited them frequently for confirmations and patronal feast days. What is more, he traveled by public bus to these parishes. Once, when traveling in this way, he ran into one of the parishioners who told him: “You are one of us. Not only do you visit us, but you travel with us.” As a result of his actions, the number of priests in the villas grew more than threefold during his time as Archbishop of Buenos Aires.