Fr. Francis Mary of the Cross Jordan
1848-1918


JORDAN8
At first it was not the intention of Fr. Jordan to found a religious order or society. He wanted to reverse the effects of the Kulturkampf and this meant something really quite radical and wide-ranging: it would mean literally the whole Church. It was his aim to give Christ back to the ordinary people. He was seized with an extraordinary missionary enthusiasm. It was an all-consuming passion. His love for God and the people of God overwhelmed him and he wanted to set to work immediately and do whatever he could to realize his ambitions at any cost. He found himself confronted by the words of John's Gospel: Now this is the eternal life: to know you the only true God and Jesus Christ whom you have sent (John 17:3).

The Iron Chancellor Bismarck tried to bring the Church into complete submission to the State. Father Jordan was so much affected by this struggle. Apart from these conflicts, Jordan saw the need of religious instruction to all people not only in Germany but also throughout the world. To stress this, the first entry of his spiritual diary states: With all your strength and effort insist upon a good Christian education of youth wherever, among any people, this is possible, even if you have to give your last drop of blood for this to the glory of God. Father Jordan decided to start a Society, which would have great zeal for instruction. The State did not permit religious (instruction) freedom. In the testimony of Father Pancracius Pfeiffer, the immediate successor to the Founder, we read: the basic tenor of our activity is religious enlightenment. Religious instruction, the announcing and teaching of the Catholic Doctrine on faith and morals is one of our principal tasks and the starting point of all activity... Through religious instruction, the Society has to DEFEND, to PROPAGATE and to SPREAD the kingdom of God. So, the Apostolic Teaching Society had taken for its object, to help, in the spirit of the apostles, in the spreading, defending and strengthening of the Catholic Faith in all countries of the world. The special aim should be to popularize the theological truths and make them accessible to people.

The fact that Jordan placed such stress on teaching and preaching, or religious instruction and youth catechesis, we can presume that he knew some principles of pedagogy such as you couldn't teach English to John without knowing John. Teaching requires, throughout the world, some methods. There is no teaching without a method. So, Father Jordan had his own method, which isInculturation. He was one of the pioneers of this method. We can find it in his writings and in the Salvatorian Charism since the beginning of the Society. In effect, Jordan reminded himself: Adapt yourself to the sensitivity of the persons to whom you relate(SDI 15.1). Jordan understood that a true teacher must adapt his teaching to the circumstances, to the environment, to the culture, to the customs and to the values of the people to whom this teaching is given. Father Jordan had been a prophet of inculturation, a messenger of incorporation. From the outset he talked about this to his sons and daughters. He saw the necessity to enter into the world of people in order to deliver the message in each particular culture in such a way that the experience becomes a principle that animates correctly and unifies the culture, transforming it and remaking it so as to bring about a new creation. Jordan quotes Faber in order to stress the necessity of inculturation, calling for: Adaptation to the circumstances of the world (SDI. 104.5). In fact, we must recognize in him the great talents of a good teacher who knows and respects everyone's culture. In his apostolate, he avoided the principle of Tabula Rasa. All people under the sun have their own cultural wealth, which should be respected. Father Jordan understood all of this. We are what we are, that means we are Salvatorians because of Father Jordan. Therefore, we must imitate his example and walk in his footsteps. Be humble to listen to him, to learn from his school where the main subject is inculturation and Jordan himself the expert teacher. After being formed by him, listen to his voice: Go, therefore, teach all nations. But he carried on by saying: Adaptation to the circumstances of the world.

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