After growing up in Germany, Therese von Wüllenweber joined Father Jordan’s Apostolic Teaching Society in Rome on September 5, 1882. Together they co-founded the Sisters of the Divine Savior and she became the Community’s Mother and guide. In 1894, Mother Mary was fortunate to accomplish her life task: establishing the center of the Congregation in Rome. Since her death in 1907, the Salvatorian Sisters expanded their presence to carry on Fr. Jordan and Mother Mary’s mission in 27 countries on five continents.
Through the efforts of Salvatorian Sisters and others who knew Mother Mary personally, her beatification process began in 1943 and continued for 25 years. The process began under the initiative of a Monsignor Natucci in Rome, who came to know Mother Mary through his work with the sisters. He urged them to advocate for her beatification calling her “a woman of heroic virtue.” He said her beatification would awaken a deeper love and appreciation for her on the part of the sisters.
Author of Bending in Season, Sister Margaret Shekleton, SDS wrote, “Her humility was obvious from the beginning of the Congregation. Largely because of Mother Mary’s own insistence, the Sisters looked up to Father Jordan. Mother Mary always referred to him as the founder and thought of herself as a collaborator.”
The Church specifies a couple of general requirements that must be fulfilled before the beatification process can move forward. A person must be deceased for at least five years (exceptions have been made) and have one attested miracle. After these basic expectations are met, the interrogative process begins. From March to December 1948, a panel of judges conducted interviews in Milwaukee with Salvatorian Sisters who knew Mother Mary personally.
On October 13, 1968, Mary of the Apostles was declared Blessed by Pope Paul VI, confirming her as an exemplar and intercessor for a truly apostolic life. We celebrate Blessed Mary’s feast day on September 5. That date coincides with her commitment to Father Jordan’s Society, which would later become the Salvatorian Family.