Father Francis Mary of the Cross Jordan
We’ll celebrate the day we call him Blessed
On May 15, 2021, the Basilica of St. John Lateran in Rome, Italy will be the site of the beatification of our co-founder, Father Francis Jordan.
Fr. Jordan’s path to beatification began in 1943, when documentation of his life and works was sent to the Vatican for review. After Fr. Jordan received the title, “Servant of God,” Salvatorians helped spread his reputation of holiness with more and more people around the world. In 2011, Pope Benedict XVI published the Decree on the Heroicity of His Virtues and declared Fr. Jordan “Venerable.” The next step – testimony of a miracle – would need confirmation before Fr. Jordan could be approved for beatification.
John Baptist Jordan was born on June 16, 1848, in Gurtweil, Germany, a small town in the Black Forest area. He traveled throughout his homeland for work as a laborer and painter-decorator. In his travels, Jordan saw how government constraints on the Church – known as the Kulturkampf – discouraged people from practicing their faith. It only strengthened Jordan’s faith, however, and on July 21, 1878, he was ordained to the priesthood in Freiburg, Germany.
As Fr. Jordan pondered how to combat the growing void in spirituality and religion, he sensed something more for his future. In September 1880, he met with Pope Leo XIII and outlined his vision to found a society devoted to teaching of the faith. The Pope gave Jordan his blessing to proceed.
On December 8, 1881, Father Jordan and two others professed private vows as members of the Apostolic Teaching Society. Soon, Therese Von Wüllenweber joined them. The new foundation grew in members and sent missionaries around the globe. Together with Fr. Jordan, Therese would co-found the Sisters of the Divine Savior and lead the congregation as Mother Mary of the Apostles for 19 years.
For the times, Fr. Jordan’s vision was bold: men and women, religious and lay, working together as equals to bring the Gospel of the Savior to all people everywhere. Today, more than 2,000 priests, sisters, brothers and lay women and men carry out that mission in a variety of ministries on six continents. They are known as the three branches of the Salvatorian Family: the Society of the Divine Savior; the Sisters of the Divine Savior; and the International Community of the Divine Savior, or Lay Salvatorians.
Fr. Francis Jordan died in Tafers, Switzerland on September 8, 1918, and was buried in the local church. In 1956, his body was moved to Rome and entombed in a special chapel in the Society Motherhouse. On March 19, 1999, Pope John Paul II visited there and prayed at Fr. Jordan’s tomb. On June 19, 2020, Pope Francis declared the authenticity of a miracle through the intercession of Fr. Jordan. It was the final step on his path to beatification, and on May 15 we will call him Blessed.
In 2014, medical specialists informed a young couple in Brazil that their unborn child had an incurable bone disease, skeletal dysplasia. The couple, who were Lay Salvatorians, invited fellow Salvatorian Family members to pray with them through the intercession of Fr. Francis Jordan. On September 8, 2014 -Feast of the Birth of the Blessed Mother and anniversary of Fr. Jordan’s death – their daughter was born completely healthy. After verifying all canonical requirements, Pope Francis declared a miraculous healing worked by God through Fr. Jordan’s intercession. This official decree completed the process to open the path for beatification.