FAITH OBVIOUS IN SCULPTURE
A duo in sculpture for more than twenty years, Jordan Wanner’s warm smile bears a striking resemblance to that of his father’s, the late David Wanner. David, God rest his soul, was an alumnus of our Salvatorian school, St. Nazianz in Wisconsin and held his Salvatorian roots close to his heart. “I remember hearing about the Salvatorians at a young age and got the distinct impression that Salvatorians were good men, dedicated to their mission. Fr. Leo Herbst especially made a huge impression on dad and really encouraged him with his interests,” said Jordan. In just the last year, while visiting his dad at St. Anne’s Salvatorian Campus in Milwaukee, Jordan asked if he was named after the Salvatorian founder, referring to a photo hanging on the wall, Jordan said, “My dad gave an empathetic, ‘Oh yeah, absolutely!’ response.”
For more than 20 years, Jordan and his dad worked side-by-side in the family business, Wanner Sculpture Studio, which creates hand crafted bronze baptismal fonts and other sculptures for parishes and businesses across the U.S. “When my father was asked how he began his career in sculpture, he would say it started with a bar of soap. He would whittle a block of soap into small figures. He was even working on a sculpture up until about 6 months before he died,” said Jordan. “The religious connection is his background and his faith. There is a niche in the art community for religious sculpture, he was very prolific. He didn’t do it for the recognition; he did it to fulfil his passion.”
So much so, that a number of years ago Jordan had been commissioned to create a bronze baptismal font for a new parish being built in Rancho Palos Verdes, CA, St. John Fischer. He arrived early for the morning meeting and wandered into the old church on site. When looking around he vaguely recognized a sculpture at the back wall. Looking closer, he realized it was a piece his father had done decades earlier; he had seen photos of it over the years. Jordan looked for his dad’s name and didn’t see it; he had forgotten to sign it. The parish asked if the sculpture could be refurbished, so when it returned to its home in Milwaukee for some TLC, Jordan was sure to carve ‘David Wanner’ on the base before refinishing it.
David Wanner loved art. “His connection to liturgical pieces is relatable to his Salvatorian education and is his strong faith shining through,” said Jordan. “His philosophy was that truth comes from beauty which comes from God. When people experience beauty they come to know God.”
"MISSION OF MERCY" CONTINUES
The Society of the Divine Savior (Salvatorians) commenced its 125th anniversary celebration a little more than a year ago when USA provincial and nationally known singing priest, Fr. Joe Rodrigues SDS released his fifth music CD. It highlights our 125th anniversary of ministry in the United States and culminates the “Year of Mercy” as designated by Pope Francis. In fact, the CD was and is dedicated to Pope Francis and his inspirational messages.
Our “Years on Fire: Passion for Mercy” multi-media concert celebrations concluded at the end of 2017, but our mission continues. We are grateful to have had the opportunity to share the Salvatorian story and God’s message of love and mercy from coast to coast. Those who had an opportunity to attend one of our six events shared that it was an “inspirational, entertaining, moving, informative, and healing celebration.”
Titled “Mission of Mercy,” the CD includes sixteen contemporary inspirational songs, including “Love Take Me Over,” “Tell Your Heart to Beat Again,” “God Speaking,” “Faith Makes a Way” and a unique interpretation of “Hallelujah.” This special collection of music captures the spirit of mercy in a fresh variety of styles, sounds and rhythms. “The mix echoes the hopes and yearnings for compassion and healing within us,” said Fr. Joe. “I pray that the songs will inspire and touch the hearts and souls of everyone who listens. As the Gospel says, ‘Be merciful, as your heavenly Father is merciful.’”
“I love being a priest, I love to serve, and I love affirming and encouraging God’s people with inspirational and moving music! I have been fortunate to combine my musical interests to help spread hope-filled messages in a world riddled with fear and despair,” said Fr. Joe. “It becomes an invitation for people to consider how merciful God truly is in our lives. As Jesus says in Jn. 10:10,’I did not come to condemn, but to save, so that you may live life and live it to the full!’”
EXPLORING A NEW MEDICAL MINISTRY
Our USA Salvatorian province founded a mission in Tanzania, Africa, more than 50 years ago. Today it has various missions, churches, ministries and a major university with 3000 students. Fr. Joe Rodrigues, USA Province provincial and Fr. Ferdinand Lukoa, mission director, travelled to Tanzania to affirm and continue this collaboration. They were joined by a group of young Lay Salvatorian candidates who are committed to finding a way to make the most of each shipment that leaves our Salvatorian Mission Warehouse and Southwest Medical Aid. They wanted to see first-hand what the greatest needs are for the people of Tanzania and identify ways to improve the process of getting supplies and support to them. Dave Holton director of the Salvatorian
Mission Warehouse and his wife, Heather, Michael Johnson, from the board of directors of the Salvatorians Southwest Medical Aid ministry and Michael Gallagher, RN are hoping to initiate an outreach ministry comprised of a lay missionary group of medical personnel from the USA who will minister and coordinate shipments of medical supplies in conjunction with our SDS Mission Warehouse and Southwest Medical Aid. The hope is to treat malaria and other illnesses, provide nutritional education and enhance remote clinics. The prayer is that they can not only send medical supplies, but nurses and doctors who will serve the needs of those in the bush country. Please pray that this is a successful endeavor that will benefit those who have little or no access to professional healthcare.