Father Francis Jordan was born in the village
of Gurtweil in the Black Forest, Germany on 16th June 1848. He
was baptized with the name John Baptist. His family was poor and
although he had felt a calling to the priesthood from a young
age he had to go to work as a painter and decorator to
supplement the family income. Through the generosity of a tutor
and benefactor he was eventually able to achieve his goal of
being ordained to the priesthood.
During his years of study Jordan became possessed by the idea to
found an organization, which would unite all Catholic forces to
defend and spread the faith. After his ordination Jordan was
unable to take up a pastoral assignment in his homeland due to
anti-Catholic laws. So he came to Rome to study oriental
languages at which he was already very proficient. He went on a
study tour to Cairo and the Holy Land and there discussed his
plans with many important ecclesiastics. His study tour was also
a pilgrimage to the Holy Places and he spent much time in
thinking and praying about his plans. Immediately on his return
he obtained the blessing of Pope Leo XIII and founded the
Society on 8th December 1881.
After a year or so his plans crystallized into the development
of two religious communities: the Society of the Divine Savior
for men and the Sisters of the Divine Savior for women. Jordan
spent the rest of his life tirelessly working to build up his
foundations. At a very early stage he accepted a mission in
Assam, India and then went on to make foundations throughout
Europe and the Americas. His foundation was to be universal in
scope and aimed to use all ways and means inspired by the love
of God to make the Savior known and loved by all people.
Jordan knew that he could do nothing without complete trust in
Divine Providence and he progressed in the spiritual life. We
have his Spiritual Diary which is a remarkable document giving
ample evidence of his pursuit of holiness.
At the outbreak of the First World War he moved to Fribourg in
neutral Switzerland to live out his last years. He died in the
nearby village of Tafers on 8th September 1918. Father Jordan's
cause for beatification was introduced in 1943.