Pope Francis arrives to lead the weekly general audience in Saint Peter’s Square at the Vatican March 27, 2013. REUTERS/Tony Gentile

When Jorge Bergoglio finished studying chemistry at high school his mother asked him what he would study next.

“Medicine,” replied the skinny 19-year-old, according to his younger sister, Maria Elena.

Bergoglio’s mother cleared a storage room in the family’s working-class Buenos Aires home for him to use as a study. Every day, after his morning job in a lab, he would arrive home and disappear into the room.

One morning, though, his mother got a surprise. In the room, she found not anatomy or medicine texts but books on theology and Catholicism. Perturbed at his change of course, she confronted her eldest son.