He lived two vocations in one lifetime: first as a husband and father of eight and then, after the death of his wife Eleanor, as a Jesuit priest and the third Superior General of the Society of Jesus as this Loyola Press Ignatian Spirituality post explains (quoting Bert Ghezzi's Voices of the Saints):St. Francis Borgia, a relative of Pope Alexander VI, King Ferdinand of Aragon, and Emperor Charles V, joined Spain’s imperial court at age eighteen. The next year he married Eleanor de Castro, who bore him eight children. In 1539, shortly after experiencing a religious conversion, Francis left the court but continued in public life as viceroy of Catalonia. At this time under the influence of Peter of Alcántara and Peter Favre, he progressed in prayer and the spiritual life.
In 1543, Francis succeeded his father as duke of Gandia, but when his wife died three years later he decided to become a Jesuit. He provided for his children and joined the society in 1550. While he preferred a quiet life of solitude, the Jesuits felt differently and promoted him so that he could use his great administrative talents for the church. In 1554, St. Ignatius appointed Francis commissary for Spain, where he founded twelve colleges and a novitiate. The Jesuits chose Francis as their general in 1565. His consolidation of the society and expansion of its ministry has caused him to be recognized as the second founder of the order. He established disciplined novitiates in every Jesuit province, writing regulations and books of spiritual instruction for them.
It was only in the middle of the 16th century when Francis Borgia proposed the image to be installed permanently at the Pauline Chapel [of the Basilica of Saint Mary Major in Rome] in 1569. Until this time, copies of this image were never made. In this regard, [St.] Francis Borgia (1510-1572), then the third Superior General of the Society of Jesus, was the central figure. Likewise, the founder St Ignatius of Loyola as well as St Stanislaus Kostka were devoted to this image.
In June 1569, Pius V (1504-1572) granted the permission to reproduce the image. The order’s particular devotion to this image played a significant role in obtaining a mobility to elsewhere in the world. It was a revolutionary event, breaking with custom. The significance of this event is evidenced by the 17th century engraving of St Francis Borgia with the Salus Populi Romani Madonna in his hand, at the Archivum Romanum Societatis Iesu.