How it all began
Fr. Father Francis of the Cross Jordan. Founder & Superior General of the Society of the Divine Saviour, arrived in England on July 9 th , 1901. Having received permission of founding an establishment of the Society in the Archdiocese of Westminster from His Eminence Herbert Cardinal Gaughan, Archbishop of Westminster, when the latter was in Rome towards the end of the Year of Jubilee 1900, Our most Rev. Father now intended to look for a suitable place for doing so. July 9th. the Feast of Prodigies of the Blessed Virgin Mary the day of foundation of the first establishment of the Society in England, was chosen by Fr. Jordan.
Fr. Jordan wrote: “… I went to see the Cardinal who happened to be away on a journey, so I went to see His Eminence on the feast of St Thomas More. This feast is solemnly celebrated there. I was cordially received by His Eminence and he save me permission for everything. Now it was a question of finding a place…we continued our … and found at last a suitable house in the High Street. We will be able to build a public chapel and the Cardinal gave us all the permissions. This place is very good. It was very difficult to find such a place. I think we have got the best place we could find in the entire area of London and from which one has a marvellous view of the city.”
Nearly 10 years later, on Saturday May 6 th , 1911 the cornerstone was put into the Private Oratory wall with the inscription ‘A.D. 1911’ after it had been blessed by the Very Reverend Father Superior Suitbert Klein. In the stone has been enclosed a tin box with a document relating the history of this first English establishment as follows below. Also, some sacred and memorial medal were enclosed; a medal of the Immaculate Conception, the present Pope Pius X, and the Apostles Peter & Paul.
The document in the cornerstone runs as follows:
Dated: Saturday 6th May 1911
The Society of the Divine Saviour.
A. M. D. G.
His Eminence Cardinal Herbert Vaughan, Archbishop of Westminster, on 11th January 1901, gave permission to our Most Reverend Father Francis of the Cross Jordan, Founder and first Superior General, to set up a College of our Society in his Archdiocese. On the feast of the Prodigies of the Blessed Virgin Mary, by invitation of the same Cardinal, the Superior General came to England and with the approval and blessing of His Eminence made the foundation of a College in a private house “Avondale”, High Street, Wealdstone, Middlesex, then a London suburb of about 8,000 inhabitants. The Fathers administer the Catholic Mission dedicated to Saint Joseph. They do supply work, at the time of writing, in the parishes of Saint Mary, Hampstead, and Our Lady Help of Christians in Kentish Town. Besides this, they are chaplains to the Convent of the Immaculate Conception, Hatch End, Pinner.
A few months after its foundation, the Catholic Mission was moved to better accommodation in “The Elms” Harrow Weald Lane. In the year 1902 a temporary chapel made of wood and iron was on the site of the Mission. The Fathers moved into a more suitable house at 78, Spencer Road. In the year 1911 the Fathers, with great trust in God, and in spite of many difficulties began the construction of their own house. The Holy See, under the reigning Pope Pius the Tenth, graciously gave an indult for a loan of £l,600, the equivalent of 40,000 lire.
The Most Reverend Archbishop Francis Bourne, a man of deep piety and devotion to the Holy See, very frequently showed kindness and generosity towards us.
It is worthy of note that in this year the Society of the Divine Saviour received a
decree of Definite Approbation from the Holy See.
The Wealdstone College
of the Society of the Divine Saviour
was erected in the coronation year
of his Majesty King George V and his consort Queen Mary.
Credit for the building of this house must be given to: The Very Rev. Father Epiphanius Deibele, first Provincial Superior of the AngloAmerican Province. Alfred E. Hammond, Parishioner of St Joseph’s, Chairman of the Harrow Weald District Council. The work of building the Salvatorian House was entrusted to a man skilled in his profession, and greatly respected. J.C. Rackham, of Harrow Weald.