Before he became Pope Francis, Jorge Mario Bergoglio was known in Buenos Aires for keeping an extremely low profile.
Born to a railway worker and a housewife from the middle-class neighbourhood of Flores, after he became archbishop of the city in 1998 he routinely turned down invitations to eat at restaurants and only left the archbishopric for meals at small soup kitchens.
Otherwise, he was a typical "Porteño," as inhabitants of the port city of Buenos Aires are known, a follower of the San Lorenzo football club, with a taste for classical music and the work of Argentinian writer Jorge Luis Borges.
His former spokesman Guillermo Marcó tells an anecdote from when Bergoglio was the archbishop of Buenos Aires. On 21 February 2001, Bergoglio was in Rome to be anointed cardinal. As they got ready to leave the house for priests where they were staying, Marcó asked how they should travel to the Vatican.
"Walking, of course," said Bergoglio. Marcó protested that Bergoglio was wearing his red robe. "Don't worry," Bergoglio said. "In Rome you could walk with a banana on your head and nobody would say anything."
When they arrived to the Holy See on foot, the Vatican guard was astounded.
"The majority of cardinals arrived with large retinues," Marcó said. "Bergoglio arrived with just myself and a couple of relatives."
Bergoglio has had a tense relationship with Argentina's president, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, which worsened after she passed a law legalising same-sex marriage in the country in 2010.
The president even joked about beating Bergoglio for pope herself. "Pity there is no popess; if not, I could compete for a post," Fernández said at a public event recently.
Although never directly, Bergoglio has delivered homilies in which he declared himself against Fernández's apparent ambition to change the Argentinian constitution to seek a third term of office in 2015, asking for "the banishment of oversized ambitions" and criticising "the deliriums of grandeur" of the country's politicians.
Church bells in Buenos Aires began ringing after news of Bergoglio's election as a large crowd of people gathered to celebrate in front of Buenos Aires cathedral.
As an example of his strong disagreements with the country's politicans, in December 2001, when Argentina fell into chaos because of an economic crash during which bank accounts of the general public were impounded by the government, Bergoglio observed the protests form the windows of his apartment next to the cathedral.
When he saw the police beating a woman who had lost her savings, he personally called Enrique Mathov, then the security secretary, and demanded that the police at least differentiate between activists and mere bank account holders.
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