Society of Jesus Mary Joseph - Founder
Mathias was born on March 6, 1779 at Diekirch in Luxumberg to Mathias Wolff and Anna Maria Zenner. He was christened Mathias after the name of the Apostle Mathias.His parents brought him up with the principle “severity when necessary and goodness when possible”. Piety, industry and thrift were a precious “heirloom” handed down from father to son.
From his early childhood he accompanied his father to attend daily mass and wished to be a Jesuit priest. In 1790 little Mathias joined the Latin school in Luxumberg, where he was complemented with the following words, as a testimony of his character.“Excellence in diligence and virtue. Continue as you have begun”.
The desire of Mathias to become a Jesuit was at stake as the Society of Jesus was suppressed by Pope Clement XIV in 1773. So he joined the Diocese and was ordained a priest on April 25, 1802 and devoted his life to the care of souls in different parishes, viz, Derenbach, Useldingen, Diekirck, Dudelingen and as professor in the minor seminary of Metz.
On August 7, 1814 Pope Pius VII revived the Society of Jesus. Then he entered the Jesuit novitiate on February 13, 1815, made his first vows on June 7, 1816 and started his first apostolic activity at Culemborg in the Nederlands.
As it was the time of French Revolution, the Catholics were oppressed and education was denied to them. As they were poor only a few could send their children abroad to catholic boarding schools. Fr.Mathias was stirred to act upon to improve the plight of the poor. So he founded the Society of Jesus Mary Joseph in 1822 in Amersfoort - Nederlands, for the education of girls which was also known as “Pedagogie Chretienne” (Christian Education).
He spent his life as a Parish priest reviving the faith of the people by preaching sermons, hearing confessions, directing retreats, guiding the Sisters of the congregation founded by him and working for the conversion of sinners. We can sum up his life in his own words, “always ready for souls” and “I want to labour as a giant”. He laboured for the greater honour and glory of God and breathed his last on October 31, 1857 at the age of 78. He was buried on 3rd November in Culemborg and on December 21, 1979 his mortal remains were transferred to the cemetery of the Dutch province in Heeswijk.
Our Founder’s Prayer
Change me into Thyself dear Lord that
I may live in Thee and for Thee alone.
May my happiness on earth consist in fulfilling Thy Holy will. Amen.