In 1539, Francis convoyed the corpse of Empress Isaballe of Portugal to her burial place.It is said that, when he saw the effect of death on the Empress Francis decided never to serve a mortal master again.
Francis was made Viceroy of Catalonia, and administered the province with great efficiency.His true interests lay elsewhere. When his father died the new Duke of Gandia retired to his native place and led, with his wife and family, a life devoted entirely to Jesus Christ and the Holy Catholic Church.
In 1546 his wife died and he was determined to enter the newly formed Society of Jesus.He renounced his titles in favor of his eldest son Carlos and became a Jesuit priest.Because of his high birth, abilities and fame, he was immediately offered a cardinal’s hat.This however, he refused, preferring the life of an itinerant preacher. In time, his friends persuaded him to accept the leadership role that nature and circumstances had destined Francis for: in 1554, he became the Jesuits’ commissary-general in Spain;and in 1565, the third Father General or Superior General of the Society of Jesus.
The Colegium Romanum, which was to become the Gregorian University, dispactched missionaries to distant corners of the globe, advised kings and popes, and closely supervised all the affairs of the rapidly expanding order.Yet, despite the great power of his office, Francis led a humble life,and was widely regarded in his own lifetime as a saint.