Sister Shirley Wagner's Story & Gallery

Franciscan Sister of Perpetual Adoration Shirley Wagner

Franciscan Sister of Perpetual Adoration Shirley Wagner, born in 1930, grew up in Marathon, Wisconsin. She is a trained classical musician, earning both her bachelor's and master's degrees in music with an emphasis in conducting. For 30 years, she taught and conducted high school, college and community symphonies in the central and upper Midwest. After retiring from a life of conducting music, she began a second career as a pastoral minister at Holy Rosary Parish in Medford, Wisconsin. She retired from ministry in 1999 and has devoted herself to working as a full-time artisan.

A La Crosse Tribune article, written by Mike Tighe in 2019, documents Sister Shirley's artistic awakening:

"Sister Shirley began woodworking after she was inspired by a photo in a craft magazine of an intarsia wolf. She saw the photo and thought, "I can do that!" Not long after inspiration struck, Sister Shirley purchased a $1,200 Hegner saw and taught herself the centuries-old woodcraft of intarsia. Intarsia is a technique that gained popularity in the 12th century and is a form of wood inlaying to create a mosaic-like picture with an illusion of depth. Sister Shirley uses a variety of natural woods from forests around the world to create these unique pieces."

Sister Shirley has produced more than 700 commissioned works, displayed in five countries, with a range in size from a 20-foot rendition of the "Last Supper" to miniscule pieces for dollhouses.

We invite you to experience Sister Shirley's ministerial story and visual gallery of art.

Sister Shirley's Art Gallery

Click/tap on the images below to view an enlarged version of her work.

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