Jordan of Saxony, Bl.
JORDAN OF SAXONY, BL.
Second master general of the Order of Preachers; b. date unknown, apparently in the ancient Diocese of Mainz; d. in shipwreck returning from the Holy Land, Feb. 13, 1237. Jordan received the Dominican habit in Paris on Ash Wednesday, 1220, where he was a lecturer at the University of Paris. In 1221 he was named provincial of the Lombardy Province, the greatest province of the Order at that time. Less than a year later he succeeded St. Dominic as master general. He travelled frequently between Paris and Bologna, the two most important seats of European learning, visiting the convents of the various provinces, strengthening and enlarging them. In these travels he drew many vocations to the Order through his preaching and teaching. He is said to have brought more than 1,000 candidates into the Order himself.
His literary work is accepted as that of a master of letters. He is renowned for the spiritual letters of direction he addressed to Bl. Diana d'Andalo and her community at the Monastery of St. Agnes in Bologna. These letters are still used by spiritual directors. His influence left a deep impression on the constitutions of the Order of Preachers. He was the outstanding historian of the early days of the Order and the first biographer of St. Dominic. Historians continue to use his Libellus de principiis Ordinis Praedicatorum. His 15 years as master general enabled him to develop most of the machinery needed for the governing of provinces and to perfect the general government of the entire Order.
Jordan initiated the Dominican tradition of singing the Salve Regina at the end of the Dominican liturgical day, as well as at the side of a dying friar. The possibility of his identification with Jordanus Nemorarius, the mathematician, has been discussed by historians, most of whom reject it.
Feast: Feb. 15.
Bibliography: m. aron, Saint Dominic's Successor (St. Louis 1955). g. vann, To Heaven with Diana! A Study of Jordan of Saxony and Diana d'Andalo, with a Translation of the Letters of Jordan (New York 1960). h. c. scheeben, Beiträge zur Geschichte Jordans von Sachsen (Quellen und Forschungen zur Geschichte des Dominkanerordens in Deutschland 35; Vechte 1938). b. altaner, Die Briefe Jordans von Sachsen, des zweiten Dominikanergenerals, 1222–37 (Quellen und Forschungen zur Geschichte des Dominikanerordens in Deutschland 20; Leipzig 1925).
[e. m. rogers]