The 76-year-old pontiff "took the name of a humble saint and then called for a church of healing.
"The septuagenarian superstar is poised to transform a place that measures change by the century," the magazine said.
The former Cardinal and Archbishop of Buenos Aires became pope March 13, succeeding Pope Benedict XVI, who stepped down, citing his failing health and advanced age. He is now 86.
"In a matter of months, Francis has elevated the healing mission of the church -- the church as servant and comforter of hurting people in an often harsh world -- above the doctrinal police work so important to his recent predecessors. John Paul II and Benedict XVI were professors of theology. Francis is a former janitor, nightclub bouncer, chemical technician and literature teacher," Time magazine noted in its cover story.
He has been quoted as expressing compassion towards women who consider abortion because of poverty or rape and has said, "If a homosexual person is of good will and is in search of God, I am no one to judge."