Fr. Francis Mary of the Cross Jordan was born John Baptist Jordan in the town of Gurtweil, in the Grand Duchy of Baden, Germany, the second son of Lorenz Jordan and Notburga Peter.
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 labourer 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 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.
Having successfully completed his initial studies, he then proceeded to enrol at the Albert-Ludwigs University in Freiburg for higher studies in the fields of theology and philology. After receiving his degree from the university, he enrolled in the nearby St. Peter Seminary.
On July 21, 1878, Jordan was ordained to the priesthood and later, on the order of his bishop, he left for Rome to begin studies of oriental languages: Syrian, Aramaic, Coptic, Arabic, as well as Hebrew and Greek.
During this period, he had a growing conviction that he was being called by God to found a new apostolic work in the Church, which had as its goal the unification of groups of priests and laity in spreading and defending the Catholic faith throughout the world.This conviction became even stronger during a trip to the Middle East in 1880.
After returning to Rome, Jordan started implementing his idea of founding a community of members under religious vows and laypeople. This would be organized into three groups, called “grades”: the first would be those who committed to leave everything and, living in community, devote their whole lives to the mission of the organization; the second was to be for academics, who spread the faith by publications; and the third for those laypeople who, remaining in their families and within the reality of their everyday life, would proclaim the Saviour through the witness of a good Christian life.
On 8 December 1881 in Rome, he founded a community of the first format, initially called the Apostolic Teaching Society, soon called the Catholic Teaching Society, at that time taking the religious name Francis Mary of the Cross Jordan, by which he is now known.
Father Jordan devoted himself totally to the work of developing his institute as its founder, spiritual guide, and superior general. This multiple role was not easy for him, as it entailed serious effort, especially when he faced different organizational, financial and personnel difficulties. At the same time, however, it gave him a profound internal joy, based on his unshakeable trust in Divine Providence and on his deep conviction that it was the way of putting into life his foundational vocation and a contribution to the salvation of souls.
houses of the Society in various countries of Europe and other parts of the world.
Through all these experiences Father Jordan matured as a human being, as a religious, and as a priest and founder, developing his personality and growing spiritually.
Thanks to his great determination he founded a second female religious congregation (Sisters of the Divine Savior) in 1888 with Therese von Wuellenweber (Blessed Mary of the Apostles). Another important development was taking over a mission in Assam, as well as founding new houses of the Society in various countries of Europe and other parts of the world. Through all these experiences Father Jordan matured as a human being, as a religious, and as a priest and founder, developing his personality and growing spiritually.
The foundation of this spiritual growth was his deep love of God and neighbour, his perseverance in prayer, his trust in Divine Providence, as well as his humility, love for the Eucharist, courageous acceptance of the cross, and fidelity to the Church. Over the course of time Father Jordan began to be considered as a man who led a holy life, both by the members of his community and by people from outside.
In 1915, because of World War I, the Society leadership, together with Father Jordan, was forced to move from Rome to neutral Switzerland. After withdrawing from the active administration of his institute at the general chapter in 1915, Father Jordan spent the last three years of his life in Fribourg (Switzerland). He died in a small hospice in Tafers near Fribourg on September 8, 1918 and was buried in the local parish church. In 1956 his mortal remains were transferred to the Society Motherhouse in Rome. In 1942 his process for beatification was officially started, and in 2011 the Decree on the Heroicity of Virtues was published.
After his death Father Jordan was buried in the parish church in Tafers, Switzerland. In 1956 his earthly remains were exhumed and transferred to the Salvatorian Motherhouse in Rome, where he spent a significant part of his life. The process for his beatification was introduced in 1942, and in 2011 the Decree on the Heroicity of Virtues was published.
A diocesan inquiry into a presumed miracle through the intercession of Father Jordan is under way in Jundiaí, Brazil. Good news from the Postulation Offic
Many cases of graces received through the intercession of Father Francis have been noted so far. Information on any graces received through the intercession of Father Jordan should be directed to: