Father Francis Maria of the Cross Jordan was born on June 16, 1848 in Gurtweil near Waldshut / Black Forest and was given the name Johann Baptist at baptism. First he learned the profession of painter, after the usual years of apprenticeship and travel he got his high school diploma at the age of 26 and then studied philosophy and theology at the University of Freiburg im Breisgau. In 1877 he entered the seminary of St. Peter and was ordained on July 21, 1878. Because of the “culture war” that was raging at the time, he was sent to Rome to study further, where he dealt with the languages of the Near East.
After an educational trip to the Orient, he founded the “Apostolic Teaching Society” to which men and women who lived according to the evangelical counsels should belong in the first stage. The founding day of the male branch was December 8, 1881, which he transformed a little later into a religious community with the name “Society of the Divine Savior” (Salvatorians). The purpose was the outer and inner mission; he himself took the name of Father Francis Maria of the Cross Jordan.
On December 8, 1888, he and Baroness Therese von Wüllenweber from Schloss Myllendonk (near Mönchengladbach) founded the order of the “Sisters of the Divine Savior” (Salvatorians). His attempt to collect academics for the defense of the faith in a second stage did not succeed; but he was able to collect believers, especially in German-speaking countries, who were to have an apostolic effect in their area of life.
As early as 1890 he began to expand the two religious communities, first in what was then Assam (northeast India), then in some European countries and finally also in North and South America. He himself was particularly concerned with the spiritual accompaniment and apostolic formation of the young confreres.
In 1915 he had to move to Friborg in Switzerland with the Generalate because of the First World War. In the same year the 3rd General Chapter of the Order approved his wish to resign from the leadership of the Society and gave Father Pancratius Pfeiffer (1872 to 1945) the leadership of the Salvatorians. Father Francis of the Cross died after a serious illness on September 8, 1918 in Tafers near Friborg (Switzerland) with a reputation for holiness. His remains were transferred to the Salvatorian Motherhouse in Rome in 1956.