‘Venerable’ Father Francis Jordan now ‘Blessed’
SALVATORIAN FOUNDER BEATIFIED
Milwaukee, Wis. – The Basilica of St. John Lateran in Rome, Italy was the site of the beatification of Salvatorian Founder, Blessed Father Francis Mary of the Cross Jordan. The ceremony took place on May 15, 2021.
Bl. Jordan’s path to beatification began in 1942, when documentation of his life and works was sent to the Vatican for review. After Fr. Jordan was bestowed with 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 officially announced that Bl. Jordan “lived a holy life,” acknowledged the “heroicity of his virtues” and declared him “Venerable.” The next steps – testimony and confirmation of a miracle – were needed before Bl. Jordan could be approved for beatification. On June 19, 2020 Pope Francis declared the authenticity of a miracle through the intercession of Bl. Jordan.
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 Bl. Jordan’s death – their daughter was born completely healthy. After verifying all canonical requirements, Pope Francis declared a miraculous healing worked by God through Bl. Jordan’s intercession. This official decree was the final step on his path to beatification.
“His beatification will reaffirm for the universal Church that the pursuit of holiness and salvation is only possible when we overcome our differences and place our trust in the unconditional mercy and providence of God,” says Father Jeff Wocken, SDS, who leads the USA Province of Salvatorian priests and brothers headquartered in Milwaukee.
The Salvatorian Story
John Baptist Jordan was born on June 16, 1848 in Gurtweil, Germany, a small town in the Black Forest region. For his work as a laborer and painter-decorator, he traveled throughout his homeland. In his travels, he saw how government constraints – known as the “Kulturkampf” – discouraged Roman Catholics 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.
Fr. Jordan pondered how to combat the growing void in spirituality and religion. In September 1880, he met with Pope Leo XIII and outlined his vision to found a society devoted to teaching of the faith. 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.
The pope gave Jordan his blessing, and on December 8, 1881 Fr. Jordan and two others professed private vows as members of the Apostolic Teaching Society. Eventually, Therese Von Wülleweber joined them. Together with Fr. Jordan, she would co-found the Sisters of the Divine Savior and lead the congregation as Mother Mary of the Apostles for 19 years. The first Lay Salvatorians made their commitment in 1971 and the Lay Salvatorians adopted their formal name, International Community of the Divine Savior, in 2006. As Fr. Jordan’s followers grew in numbers, they were sent as missionaries around the world.
Fr. 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 and prayed at Fr. Jordan’s tomb.
The Salvatorian Family
Today, more than 2,000 priests and brothers, sisters, and Lay Salvatorian women and men carry out Fr. Jordan’s 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 (priests and brothers); the Divine Savior Congregation (sisters); and International Community of the Divine Savior, or Lay Salvatorians. Fr. Wocken explains, “Fr. Jordan valued universality, inclusiveness and collaboration as essential to the mission of proclaiming the Gospel throughout the world.”
Life of Fr. Francis JordanIt was Gurtweil, a small place in southwestern Baden, just a few kilometers from the district town of Waldshut, close to the Swiss border, that became the hometown of Father Francis Mary of the Cross Jordan, founder of the Salvatorians. Father Jordan was born on June 16, 1848, second son to Lawrence and Notburga nee Peter. On the following day he was baptized at the local parish church with the name John Baptist.
Being brought up in a poor family, he was not able to realize his dream of becoming a priest, although as a teenager he had already become aware of his vocation at the moment of his First Communion. After finishing primary school he worked as a laborer and painter-decorator, traveling in what was then Germany. He noticed the difficult spiritual situation of his homeland and of the other European countries. The people would turn away from God and leave the faith. The Church was limited in performing its mission by the state (Kulturkampf). All these experiences made Jordan's faith stronger and his conviction of being called to the priesthood clearer. He finally decided to follow his vocation and to begin studies in theology. In 1869 he started private lessons with his priest friends in Waldshut; after that, he studied at the gymnasium in Constance. The time of secondary studies required much effort from Jordan but, at the same time, despite his difficulties with sciences, he developed his talent for languages. For the graduation exam he presented an essay in eight European languages and another one in four other languages.
The Making of 'Become Great Before God'The Society of the Divine Savior's Generalate invited, Fr. Joe Rodrigues of the US province, to host a film documentary on Father Francis Jordan's life, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of his death. Studio Katolik of the Polish Province, in collaboration with a director and writer from Los Angeles, have come together through the sponsorship of the Generalate to produce this documentary which we pray will profoundly capture the life and spirit of our founder.
Filming began in September 2017 on location in Germany, Switzerland and Italy. Fr. Joe and the Katolik Production Team worked to complete filming in Jerusalem - the Holy Land in January 2018.
The first part of this series is now available.
#BecomeGreatBeforeGod #Salvatorians #AllWaysAndMeans # FrFrancisJordan #SoontobecalledBlessed
Prayer for the Intercession of
Blessed Francis Mary of the Cross Jordan
Lord Jesus Christ,
Savior of the World,
Francis Mary of the Cross Jordan
to be your apostle,
to make God known and loved by all people everywhere,
using all the means your love inspires.
You filled him with universal
with a deep trust in
God’s loving providence,
with a profound spirit of prayer,
with a sincere devotion to
Mary, Mother of the Savior,
and with the courage to follow you,
even into the mystery of the Cross.
Grant also to me, his follower,
the grace to proclaim the
Gospel in this spirit
and make me an effective apostle in today’s world.
Through the intercession of your servant,
Blessed Francis Jordan, I ask you for my special needs…
[Pause to recall personal intentions]
I make this prayer through
Jesus Christ, my Lord
The tomb of Fr. Jordan is located in a chapel on the first floor of the Salvatorian Motherhouse in Rome. He died on the feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, September 8, 1918, in Tafers, Switzerland, where he lived after having to leave Rome because of World War I. In 1956 his earthly remains were exhumed and transported to Rome to be placed in the Motherhouse where he had lived from 1882 to 1915.
In 2002 a relic of Blessed Mary of the Apostles (Therese von Wüllenweber), a spiritual daughter of Father Jordan and the first Superior General of the Salvatorian Sisters, was placed in the chapel next to the tomb of Father Francis.
The tomb of Father Francis is venerated by his spiritual sons and daughters, as well as by faithful from around the world. On March 19, 1999, Pope John Paul II prayed at the tomb of the Founder.
We invite you to visit Father’s Jordan tomb.
Please contact us in advance so we can welcome you.