During turbulent times of political, social and economic changes in 19th and 20th century Europe the Catholic Church faced many challenges. Secularization or even fight against faith and religion resulted in the establishment of numerous religious congregations and apostolic works. Among those who responded to the call of God was Fr. John Baptist Jordan (1848-1918), Priest in the Fribourg Diocese.

The beginnings of the apostolic work of the Founder of the Salvatorians date back to December 8th 1881, when together with another two collegues, Fr. Bernard Lüthen and Fr. Frederick von Leonhardi, made their commitments in St. Bridget chapel in Rome. After two years, on March 11th 1883, willing to develop the work, Father Jordan transformed it into a religious congregation. On that day he took religious vows in St. Peter basilica in Rome. He also received the new name: Francis Mary of the Cross and religious habit of gray color. After one year the religious garb was changed and from 1884 it consists of a black habit girdled with a black cingulum.

An official approbation of the Church is an important moment in the history of each apostolic work. Father Jordan’s initiative was approved on the diocesan level by Cardinal Vicar Lucido Parocchi on June 5th 1886. He also received the Papal Decree of praise on May 27th 1905. The Society of the Divine Savior received definitive approval on November 25th 1911. First religious regulations, the so-called Constitutions were finally approved on March 20th 1922. In accordance with the instructions of the Second Vatican Council the Society prepared the new text of the Constitutions, which was approved on December 8th 1983.

In 1883 the Salvatorians opened their Novitiate and so began the dynamic development of the Society. In 1884 it consited of 17 individuals, one year later 32 and in 1889: 152. The Founder’s great desire was that all people know and love Jesus Christ the only Savior of the world. This desire came to fruition thanks to rapid growth of the number of the Salvatorians. Only nine years after foundation of the Society Father Jordan send two Priests and two Religious Brothers to Assam in India (1890).

The Society of the Divine Savior had an international character since its beginnings. In 1894 it consisted of 273 members representing various nations. Almost from the moment of its foundation it was joined by numerous candidates from Polish territories, most of them from around Opole and from Upper Silesia. From about one thousand candidates who entered the Society in 1881-1900 almost one hundred came from the Polish territories. Father Tomasz Weigang from Kłodzko region was the first one ordained to the Priesthood.

Great number of vocations from the Polish territories inspired Father Jordan to open a religious community house in Kraków. Hence in June 1900 he sent there Cl. Wojciech Kummer SDS, native Krakow, in order to find a suitable place for this purpose. During the following months the three Salvatorians arrived in Kraków: Fr. Alfred Zacharzowski, Fr. Cezary Wojciechowski and Fr. Honory Bugiel. On October 21st 1900 they moved to an apartment at Szlak Street #55.

Thanks to Father Jordan’s efforts and to hard work of the Salvatorian pioneers Cardinal Jan Puzyna gave, on October 1st 1901, his permission to open the first religious community house of the Society of the Divine Savior in Trzebinia. Official opening of the first community house on the Polish territory took place on July 1st 1903. The community was under the direct authority of the General Superior in Rome. Its members engaged in pastoral work and publishing in Trzebinia as well as in Galicia and Upper Silesia.

The Second General Chapter of the Salvatorians (1908) divided the Society into four provinces. The community house in Trzebinia was assigned to the Austro-Hungarian Province established at that time. After Poland’s independence was restored in 1918 the community in Trzebinia was again under the authority of the General Superior in Rome. Taking into account the new geopolitical situation in Europe the General Superior established the Polish Commissariat and on February 6th 1922 he appointed Fr. Benigny Dziadek as its Superior.

Hard work of the Salvatorians resulted in great number of candidates looking to join the Society. Therefore, beginning July 15th 1923 the Society began accepting candidates in the community house in Kraków-Zakrzówek. Further growth in number resulted in establishing the Polish Province of the Society of the Divine Savior (August 16th 1927). At this time the Society had 27 members, who lived in three houses: in Trzebinia, Kraków and Lipnik. Fr. Benigny Dziadek, residing in Kraków, was appointed the first Provincial Superior.

Because of the large number of vocations additional community houses were opened: in Mikołów (1931), Zakopane (1939) and in Merrillville, USA (1941). In 1938 in the Polish Province of the Society of the Divine Savior had 98 Salvatorians.

After the difficult times of German occupation (1939-1945) the Polish Province underwent a period of dynamic growth. Following the end of WWII many community houses were established in the so-called Western Territories, where the Polish Salvatorians engaged in restoration of religious and cultural life.

In that period of time the following houses, among others, were opened: in Kraków at Łobzowska Street #22 (1945), Bielsko-Biała (1945), Dobroszyce (1945), Trzebnica (1945), Koczurki (1945), Oborniki Śląskie (1947), Rościsławice (1947), Bystra Śląska (1952), Wysoki Kościół (1953), Mikuszowice Śląskie (1957), Wrocław (1957), Warsaw (1959), Piastów (1960), Węgorzewo (1960), Międzywodzie (1962), Krzyż Wielkopolski (1964).

Bagno (earlier: Heinzendorf) was and remains especially important as during the years of 1930-1941 it housed the Novitiate for candidates from German speaking countries. During the years 1946-1994 and later starting in 2004 and continuing until the present day it houses the Novitiate. From October 4th 1953 the Salvatorian Major Seminary of the Polish Province is located there as well.

In the jubilee year when the 60th anniversary of the Seminary in Bagno was celebrated, the statistical survey of its operation showed the following data: 739 seminarians began their studies, 481 seminarians completed their studies and were ordained to the Priesthood.

The members of the Polish Province joined in the realization of the charism of Father Jordan not only in their homeland. Many alumni of the Seminary in Bagno went to work in missions in such countries as Tanzania (1968), Zair (1973), India (1990), Australia and Canada. Sociopolitical transformation of Europe after 1989 resulted in increased activity in post-communist countries. Responding to the needs of the local Churches the Salvatorians began their ministry in Russia, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Albania and Montenegro, in Hungary, Belarus and Ukraine. They also opened foundations in Italy, Mexico and Scotland.