Jordan Mai


The Servant of God Jordan Mai, Confessor, First Order

Pope Pius X once remarked that it is peculiar to the saints of our day that they attain to prominence less through extraordinary deeds than through simple fidelity to their ordinary duties. Such was also the case with this servant of God, whose life of virtue and estimation in the eyes of God became known only after his death.

Brother Jordan was born on September 1, 1866, in Westphalia. His parents were poor in earthly possessions, but rich in the fear of God and in thrift. Until he was twenty-nine years old, Henry, as Brother Jordan was known in the world, worked as a simple laborer and a good soldier. In 1895 he became a Franciscan brother and spent the last fifteen years of his life in the Franciscan friary at Dortmund.

In the convent, he lived a quiet and retired life, although those who were more closely associated with him knew him to be a very conscientious, diligent, and humble religious. In his interior life, he attained a high degree of mysticism. After the reception of holy Communion holiness radiated from his eyes. In his humility, he copied from our Blessed Lady, and he always regretted that the invocation, “Virgin most humble,” was not added to the Litany of Loreto.

The Servant of God Blessed Jordan Mai


His charity towards his neighbor made him particularly agreeable to his fellowmen. No one who ever had any dealings with him could recall his having in any way, either in word or deed, failed against charity. But he was always on the alert to perform acts of charity for others.

It was one of his greatest delights to serve the priest at holy Mass. Franciscan cheerfulness radiated from his whole being. Only God knows all that he did and suffered and prayed for the conversion of sinners during his lifetime, and still more after his holy death.

On February 20, 1922, he prepared himself for death. “Now I am going to heaven,” he said in his simple way to his confessor. The extraordinary answers to prayers directed to him cover such a variety of needs and are so striking that the faithful believe he is really with God, and he has been called “the St. Anthony of Dortmund.” The great host of Brother Jordan’s clients in the Old and the New World are firmly convinced that the honor of the altars will be granted to him in the near future. His cause of beatification is now underway.

With the approbation of the bishop of Paderborn and in the presence of his representatives, the body of Brother Jordan was exhumed and placed in a new coffin on October 10, 1932. The tomb of Brother Jordan is now at the foot of the sanctuary in the Franciscan church in Dortmund.

Many people are dissatisfied in times of infirmity. They are ill-advised. The Apostle of the Gentiles even says: “I glory in my infirmity.” (2 Cor. 11,30) And Brother Jordan, who was exteriorly not attractive, whose talents were hardly average, who was somewhat awkward in his ways, never complained about these deficiencies nor about corporal sufferings. He accepted all with resignation to God, and abided by the principle: “Always be cheerful; God will continue to see you through.” May you always be as happy and as resigned to God’s will.

Many people consider themselves useless in infirmity. That, too, is foolish. Brother Jordan performed his duties as well as he could; in the eyes of God, that is the main thing. The sense of the words, “Peace to men of good will” applies in a striking way to Brother Jordan. God looks more to the will than to the deed. And the servant who gained two talents in addition to the two that had been given him, received the same reward as the one who gained five in addition to the five he had. Hence, do not lose heart.

Infirmity has its advantages. It keeps us little and humble and preserves us from pride and conceit. It inclines us and prepares us to be indulgent with others. For that very reason, our dear Lord took upon Himself the miseries of our human nature so He could “have compassion on our infirmities.” Are you in misery? Then pray much for poor sinners, as Brother Jordan did, and you will accomplish more than you imagine. Rejoice, therefore, in your infirmities.

*from the Franciscan Book of Saints by Marion A. Habig, OFM

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