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SDS History

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 Father Francis Jordan.

 

Historical background

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 Francis 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.