Fr. Christian Wagner, S.J., 45, grew up in the state of Baden- Württemberg in Germany. After earning a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Technische Hochschule Karlsruhe in 1994, he went on to earn a master’s degree in biotechnology at the European Biotechnology School of the Higher Rhine Universities in France and a Ph.D. in microbiology from the University of Basel in Switzerland. Fr. Wagner’s subsequent work in the pharmaceutical industry with GlaxoSmithKline and Abbott Laboratories brought him to the U.S., but after five years, he was searching for a more fulfilling career. The desire for meaningful work took Fr. Wagner to Loyola University Chicago, where he taught biology and began to revisit the idea of becoming a priest, which he’d placed on the back burner since high school. He entered the Society of Jesus in August 2006. As a novice, Fr. Wagner served as a chaplain with the Clinical Pastoral Education program at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., and later earned a master’s degree in philosophical resources from Fordham University in the Bronx, New York. In a unique experience for a Jesuit in formation, he was missioned to Asia, where he spent two years learning Mandarin in Taiwan and mainland China, followed by another year as a visiting research scientist. In 2014, he was missioned to the Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University in Berkeley, California, where he earned a Master of Divinity degree and completed a three-year spiritual direction course at the Jesuit Retreat Center of Los Altos, while serving as a deacon at San Quentin State Prison and the Cathedral of Christ the Light in Oakland. His first assignment as a priest will be at St. Michael’s Church in Munich, Germany, until August 2017, when Fr. Wagner will return to Berkeley to complete a Licentiate in Sacred Theology. His first Mass will be celebrated at Madonna della Strada Chapel at Loyola University Chicago. (Chicago-Detroit Province)
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