Pope Francis has chosen to retain his episcopal seal and motto, which is a quote from the writings of the English saint and scholar the Venerable Bede.
Added to the original papal seal are a blue background along with a mitre with cross keys of gold and silver along with a red cord, symbol of his pontifical office. The emblem of the Jesuit order, to which Pope Francis belongs, is placed above on the shield.
The emblem is an image of a radiant sun with the letters "IHS" the monogram of the name of Christ. A cross is placed above the letter H of the monogram while three nails are placed below it.
On the bottom left hand side of the shield is an image of a star, which according to heraldic tradition, symbolises the Virgin Mary, and to the right of the star is the image of the spikenard, an aromatic plant to symbolise St Joseph, patron of the Universal Church.
The Holy Father's motto, "Miserando Atque Eligendo", (Because he saw him through the eyes of mercy and chose him) is taken from a homily by Saint Bede the Venerable regarding the calling of St Matthew by Jesus.
The newly elected Pope explained that he experienced the mercy of God in a particular way at the age of 17. "Following confession, his heart was touched by the descent of the mercy of God, who with tender love called him to the religious life," a Vatican communiqué stated.