Profile of a Missionary: Fr. Bill Stang, CPPS
By Jean Giesige
A professor of biology at Saint Joseph’s College, which is sponsored by the Missionaries of the Precious Blood, Fr. William Stang, CPPS, fields questions about science as well as religion, two powerful poles that coexist peacefully in his mind. In his class on science that he teaches as part of the Core program, “we constantly stress that both science and religion seek the truth,” Fr. Stang said. “They use different methods and come at questions from different points. But both can help you live your life successfully. Science can help you get rid of superstition. Religion can provide meaning to science.”
Life at the college suits Fr. Stang, who has a restless, questing mind and a lively curiosity. Self-diagnosed with attention deficit disorder, he said he loves his life in the SJC biology lab, where he can read and write in his office, which is crammed with books, papers, globes, flags, photos, samples of his African mask collection and other memorabilia, then wander out to the lab to work on a raccoon skeleton.
“To be productive, I need a variety of things to do,” said Fr. Stang, who has several advanced degrees and is a retired colonel with the Indiana National Guard. “I’m happiest when I have four or five projects going at one time. When I get tired of one thing, I can go scrub raccoon bones, or work on a chapter for an hour or so, then repair a microscope, then go see how Fr. Len is doing.” (Fr. Leonard Kostka, CPPS, who at age 98 is the oldest Missionary in the Society worldwide, is the unofficial dean of life at the college.)
Fr. Stang sees himself as a missionary who trains missionaries. He teaches many young people who will become doctors and nurses, and he wants them to send them out into the world with a missionary’s outlook. “I get to prepare future doctors and nurses. We’ve sent out over 100 people who are doctors and over 1,000 people who are nurses. We help them look at the patient as a human being with a soul, not just a disease.”