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SDS NEWS

   We are called to Proclaim Jesus our Saviour   

The Salvatorian Family consists of the members of the Society of the Divine Saviour (Societas Divini Salvatoris), members of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Divine Saviour (Sorores Divini Salvatoris) and Lay Salvatorians.

We have an international character and work within the confines of the Roman Catholic Church

Since majority of the Salvatorians working in Australia come from the Polish Province of the Salvatorians we share with you our history around the world, in Australia and in Poland.

Seminary in BagnoFrom the very beginning of their existence Salvatorians have been very much an international religious order. Among the members there was a significant number of Polish men. Out of about a thousand candidates who joined the order in the years 1881-1900, about one hundred were Polish. They did whatever their superiors sent them to do. Some of them joined a group of priests and brothers from other countries to help form an American Province of the Salvatorians, at the same time providing pastoral care to Polish people who emigrated to the USA. Others were sent to India to work at the newly established mission at Assam. A large number of them pioneered Salvatorian pastoral ministry in a number of countries in Europe. Only a small number returned to their motherland to lay the foundations of the future Polish Province of the Salvatorians.

The first Salvatorians of Polish origin arrived in Krakow (Cracow) in 1900. They were: Alfred Zacharzowski, Honoriusz Bugiel and Cezary Wojciechowski. The first Salvatorian  Community House was opened in 1903 at Trzebinia near Krakow.

In 1918, after the First World War, Poland regained national independence. This situation created new opportunities for further development and growth of the Society. To achieve this task a formation house was needed. In 1923 a formation house was officially opened in Zakrzowek (outskirts of Krakow).

In 1927 the Polish Province of the Salvatorians was finally established. The Province had twenty seven members: eight priests, seven brothers, four seminarians and eight novices.

At the end of the Second World War the Salvatorians in Poland lived in five Community Houses. The new reality of life after the War created new challenges. There was a shortage of priests in the western part of Poland, so the Salvatorians tried to respond to the needs of the people. Within two years they had undertaken pastoral ministry at sixteen different places in the western part of Poland.

Continuing growth in numbers allowed the Salvatorians to take new postings and face new challenges in an attempt to meet the needs of the people. In 1975 there were thirty one Polish Salvatorian Community Houses, out of which twenty seven were in Poland, two in USA and two in Canada.

Seminary CelebrationAt present Polish Salvatorians work and live in thirty five houses in Poland and in a number of countries all over the world. These are: USA, Canada, Australia, Brazil, Russia, Byelorussia, Ukraine, Italy, Albania, Hungry, Switzerland, Germany, Czech Republic and Slovakia. Mission countries: Tanzania, Congo, Philippines and India.

Prompted and encouraged by the words of their Founder, Fr Francis Mary of the Cross Jordan: “As long as there is even one person in the world who does not know and does not love Jesus Christ the Saviour of the world, you are not to take rest”, Salvatorians continue the mission of Christ on all continents of the world.

Old CommunityThe history of the Salvatorians in Australia began in 1961. A few years earlier the Archbishop of Perth, Redmond Prendiville, sent a letter of invitation to the head of our Society in Rome, Fr Bonaventura Schweizer. Replying to the invitation Fr Schweizer sent the first Savatorian, Fr Paul Keyte to Australia in 1961. Fr Paul was asked to take pastoral care of the new parish of Bellevue. The beginnings were difficult. The parish community life centered around the local catholic school, as there was no church, and no parish house or office facilities. In the following years a few more Salvatorians from the British Province joined Fr Paul.

In 1966 the new St Anthony’s Church, together with the accommodation for priests and the parish centre were opened in Bellevue. The parish of St Anthony was the only Salvatorian centre in Australia until the year 1982, when Fr Aloysius McDonagh became the Parish Priest of Esperance, in the diocese of Bunbury. In the late 70’s, prompted by the shortage in numbers, the British Province of the Salvatorians seriously considered passing on their ministry in Australia to the vibrant Polish Province.

During the transition period (1979-1987) four Polish Salvatorians worked together with the British Province Salvatorians (who were mostly Irish). Over all there had been six Salvatorian priests and one brother from the British Province who worked in Australia in 1961-1987.

In 1987 the Polish Province of Salvatorians officially took over from the British Province. This decision created a need for new people who would continue the ministry undertaken by the Salvatorians from the British Province. As a result three volunteers from the Polish Province arrived in Perth in 1988. Since then, almost every year, we have been getting “new blood” from Poland. At present there are over twenty Polish Salvatorians sharing their lives and ministry in Australia.

Community 2007

Thanks to the wonderful personal support of the Polish Province we have been able to expend and undertake pastoral care in a number of parishes in Perth and country areas of Western Australia. Since 1999 Polish Salvatorians have been working also in the Broken Bay Diocese, NSW.  Following the teaching of our Founder, Fr Francis Jordan, we try to take a broad approach to our priestly ministry. Therefore, we do not restrict ourselves to the parish pastoral ministry only. A few of our priests have been working as school chaplains over the last several years.

In order to understand the history of our Society it is necessary to look at the historical background, particularly the situation in Germany at the time, and the life of our founder Fr Francis Jordan.

Fr Francis Jordan

There were two important factors which affected the Church during the 19th century in Germany: Secularisation and the Kulturkampf. At the beginning of the century under Napoleon nearly all the monasteries in Germany were secularised. The monasteries were dissolved and the property taken over by the state or sold off. The whole way in which the Church exercised its pastoral care was disrupted, and a previously flourishing monastic culture was destroyed. The Prussian State, which had become stronger and stronger in the course of the 19th century, embarked on a policy of conflict with the Catholic Church known as the Kulturkampf. Laws were introduced to try and limit the power and influence of the Church. Because of that, the Church found many of its practical and pastoral activities increasingly restricted by the state.

It was not, at first, the intention of Father Jordan to found a Religious Order. He wanted to reverse the effects of the Kulturkampf and this meant something really quite radical and wide ranging; it would mean literally renewing 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 for humanity overwhelmed him and he wanted to set to work immediately and do whatever he could think of to realise his ambitions there and then.

First he had to find some associates, people who would understand and help him in his task, and most importantly he was looking for priests who would be able to take up his plan. He soon found Father Bonaventura Lüthen, a fellow German, who in those early days became his closest collaborator and friend. He soon found several other priests who were prepared to work with him.

Jordan’s plan was for a Society with three degrees: the First Degree would include members, both men and women, who would devote themselves entirely to the Society and its work. They would take the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. The Second Degree would include educated people i.e. those who would be able to exercise an influence in the Church and in Society—scientists, artists, intellectuals, journalists, etc. The Third Degree was for anyone who was willing to live a good Christian life and to promote the aims of the Society.

First four SalvatoriansIt was very important for Father Jordan that his Society should be established in Rome, for this was the heart of the Church, so he moved to the house of St Brigida in Piazza Farnese, where he established a printing press and started printing the monthly magazine Der Missionär. On the 8th December 1881, in the Chapel of St Brigida in Rome, Father Jordan and three other priests took private vows as members of the Apostolic Teaching Society. It is this date which is kept as the foundation day of the Salvatorians.

The Apostolic Teaching Society soon attracted other collaborators and the premises in St Brigida became too small. So Fr Jordan was delighted to be able to rent rooms right next to St Peter’s Piazza in the Palazzo Moroni, Borgo Vecchio 165—now Via della Conciliazione 51.

The plans for involving Diocesan priests did not materialize, but the Motherhouse was soon filled with prospective candidates. His idea of a Society with three grades was considered too progressive. The Church would only give recognition to the First Grade organised along the lines of a Religious Order with completely separate branches for women and men.

The name ‘Apostolic Teaching Society’ was considered rather controversial since the Papacy reserved the use of the title Apostolic for itself. The name was changed to ‘The Catholic Teaching Society’, then to ‘The Society of the Divine Saviour’ (in Latin: Societas Divini Salvatoris) and ever since then the Society has been known as "The Salvatorians". This change of name was fortunate because the new Society no longer took its name from its activities but from its highest ideal: Christ himself, the Saviour of the World. He is our model and it is to him that we aim to draw others.

Jordan was from the beginning keen to involve women in the work of the Society. He established a foundation of Sisters under the leadership of Francesca Streitel, but difficulties soon arose. It seemed that she was not in full harmony with the ideas of the Founder and wanted the Sisters to follow the lines of Franciscans of the Strict Observance. This group of Sisters was separated from Father Jordan in 1886 and remains today as the Adolorata Sisters.

Jordan had long connection with Therese von Wüllenweber, who had been a member of the First Degree since 1882, and was waiting for him to call her to Rome. She came in 1888 and Jordan placed her in charge of the new foundation in Tivoli: The Sisters of the Divine Saviour. Therese took the name ‘Mary of the Apostles’, a name which shows her devotion to the apostolic spirit of Jordan’s ideas. In fact, they had a remarkable similarity of outlook, and she proved to be a faithful collaborator and a wise superior of the Sisters. She was beatified in 1968.

Fr Francis JordanOnce the canonical approbation for the Society was obtained Jordan began energetically to found a series of new houses of the Society. It is only possible to give a summary here. A big uplift was given to the Salvatorians when the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith asked Father Jordan if he would take charge of a vast new mission area in Assam, North East India. As early as 1890 he sent his first missionaries to Assam, even though he could hardly spare the men. In 1892 he started foundations in the United States and Austria. There followed: Ecuador-Colombia (1893), Switzerland (1894), Czechoslovakia (1895), Brazil (1896), Romania (1898), Belgium, Poland and Yugoslavia (1900), England (1901) and Germany (1915). So during his lifetime Father Jordan established the Society in 14 different countries. This was indeed the result of tireless activity and very many long journeys by him.

Since then our Society has spread throughout the world with 3000 members (priests, brothers and sisters) proclaiming Jesus Christ as the only Saviour of the world.

SDS in the World

 Albania  Australia  Austria  Belarus  Belgium  Brazil  Cameroon  Canada  Colombia  Comoros  Congo  Czech_Republic  Ecuador  England  Germany  Guatemala  Hungary  India  Ireland  Italy  Mexico  Montenegro  Mozambique  Philippines  Poland  Romania  Russia  Scotland  Slovakia  Spain  Sri_Lanka  Suriname  Switzerland  Taiwan  Tanzania  Ukraine  United_States  Venezuela

Contact Details

Main House:
     2 Caledonia Ave
     CURRAMBINE WA 6028

Postal Address:
     PO Box 530
     Joondalup WA 6919

Ph:  +61 8 9304 2907
Email: Click here

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All peoples, all nations, all races, all families of peoples, all men — you are a debtor to all!  Do not rest until all know Jesus the Saviour, love Him and serve Him. O Mother of the Saviour, pray for us!