Salvatorian Fathers

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Salvatorian Fathers


St. Peter’s has been under the care of the Salvatorian Fathers since 2006. We would like to share some information about the Society of the Divine Savior (SDS).

Inspired by these words of Scripture their Founder, Francis Mary of the Cross Jordan, wrote in December 1894 in his Exhortations and Admonitions, “As long as there is one person on earth who does not know God and does not love Him above all things, you dare not allow yourself a moment’s rest. As long as God is not everywhere glorified, you dare not allow yourself a moment’s rest.”

Later in February 1904 he wrote, “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!.”

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.

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.

It 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.

Once 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 proclaiming Jesus Christ as the only Saviour of the world.

For more information on becoming a Salvatorian please click on this link:


Get to Know Our Pastor

Fr. Krystiaan Bishop Gordon Aug 9 2015 009

Fr. Krystian Golisz, S.D.S.

Krystian Golisz was born on February 11, 1958 in Toszek, Poland, a small town about 100km northwest of Krakow.  He grew up as the youngest in a family of three children.  Church was a central part of life, as for most families in Poland, and Krystian has fond memories of attending many Church-sponsored summer camps and retreats for youth.  He came in contact with Salvatorian priests at these camps, many who had served in other countries.  They often spoke of their missionary experiences around the world and these stories fired young Krystian's imagination.  However, as a teenage he became a self describe "party animal".  "I was quite wild", recalls Fr. Krystian, "Lots of girlfriends, and parties every Saturday night.  So I had many inner struggles about my future."  However, much to the disappointment of a few young ladies in Toszek, in 1977 the then 19 year old decided to go into the priesthood with the Salvatorian Order.  He headed to Bagno the site of their Major Seminary.  When Cardinal Karol Wojtyla became Pope in 1978 it uplifted the spirits and faith of the entire nation which was still under Communist rule.

Krystian was ordained with eight other priests in a small church in Krakow in 1984 with family members inside and friends and extended family members waiting patiently outside listening on speakers.  The Communist government was not happy about the ordination of more priests.  Many who were at the ordination did not think it was coincidence that just as the Mass began all power was cut off to the church.

The young priest was assigned to the Basilica of St. Jadwiga in Trzebnica, an enormous Romanesque church dating from the 13th century.  As associate priest, along with two other young colleagues, he assisted the senior pastor who had been serving at the Basilica for over 50 years.  He was, in Fr. Krystian's words, "A very wise and holy man."  The huge parish of 20,000 people included many villages in the area.  It was a busy time, but Fr. Krystian believes it was the best introduction to the priesthood that he could have had.  However, his dream of being a missionary was still very much alive, and so in 1986 he was given permission to serve overseas.  The first step was a few months in England taking a basic course in English, and then he headed off to Tanzania, Africa.

The poorest area of Tanzania is on the border with Mozambique, where drought is common, and this is where Fr. Krystian was assigned to serve.  With very few resources, no power, and no running water, he and another experienced priest had to deal with many refugees coming across the border to escape the violent conflict in Mozambique at the time.  Living in a village, they also travelled constantly to many mission stations in the bush to celebrate Mass, give catechism lessons, perform weddings and funerals, offer counselling and visit the sick.  Education and health were also big concerns, and they helped to construct many bush churches, schools and clinics.  Salvatorian Sisters were also ministering in the region, working in the clinics and schools.

Altogether, Fr. Krystian spent 10 years in this rural region, living in three different villages and becoming fluent in Swahili.  During this time, he also was sent twice to India for six-month stints, where the Salvatorians were seeking to re-establish missions.  Again, under very primitive conditions, he served the poor and helped with construction projects.

In 1996, Fr. Krystian was sent to a Formation House in Tanzania, where he was Superior for over 100 local young men from all over the country.  After this he served for three years in another rural parish that was not in very good shape.  While there, he helped to build a new church and kindergarten.  Next he served in the capital city, Dar es Salaam, in a very large parish.  He and his associate spent much of their time performing funerals and visiting the sick, as AIDS was a tragic and constant reality.  Like many missionaries in Africa, Fr. Krystian suffered from numerous bouts of malaria, and also became very sick with typhoid, spending three months in the hospital thinking that he might be dying. He credits a Swiss nun, with whom he is still in touch, with nursing him back to health and saving his life.

During a holiday visiting a friend in Nanaimo, BC, Fr. Krystian was very impressed with Canada - especially the clean water, always in short supply in many parts of Tanzania.  In 2000, he asked to be sent to Canada where he first served as associate priest at Holy Spirit Church in Calgary for six months.  When St. Joseph's pastor moved to Edmonton Fr. Krystian became 'temporary' pastor at St. Joseph's and ended up staying for eight years.  He and his little dog Watka became beloved fixtures in our parish.  He remembers his years at St. Joseph's with much delight.  "It was a fantastic experience," he recalls.  "Such a beautiful community - I felt like I was part of a big family.  There were so many ministries, social activities, great music, and people who really cared for each other."  One of his favourite ministries was serving two Masses every Sunday afternoon at the Spy Hill Correctional Centre - as he puts it, "One Mass for the boys, and one for the girls."

From 2009 until 2012 Fr. Krystian served as pastor at St. Rita's Church in Rockyford and St. Mary's in Beiseker.  Regularly travelling the 50km between the two towns, he regularly visited parishioners in villages and farms in between.  He put many miles on his little car driving to Drumheller Penitentiary every week for his prison ministry.

The story of Fr. Krystian's last three years will continue as soon as he gives it to me....

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