Now that this is the name has been chosen by the new Roman Catholic pope, Francis has come into the spotlight.
In fact, this name, which was in the Top 10 at the turn of the last century, has been pretty much confined to Irish and Italian Catholics (think F. (Francis) Scott Fitzgerald, Francis Albert Sinatra, Francis Ford Coppola) for decades, and still has a somewhat starchy feel. But with its similarity to the increasingly popular female Frances, and its recent newsworthiness, we can see it making a possible comeback beyond those worlds..
Animal-loving parents might be inspired by the connection to Saint Francis of Assisi (born Giovanni), who was said to be able to communicate with animals and was made the patron saint of ecology. Another Francis, Saint Francis de Sales, is the patron saint of writers and editors.