Died 8 April 2017
Jesuit Brother William E. Biernatzki died on April 8, 2017, at Froedtert Hospital in Milwaukee. He was 85 years old and a Jesuit for 59 years.
Born in Niles, Michigan, on Dec. 3, 1931, Br. Biernatzki attended grade school in Michigan and high school in Iowa. He enrolled at Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa, served in the US Army in Korea for several years, and spent a semester at Marquette University in Milwaukee before entering the Society of Jesus at the Oshkosh Jesuit Novitiate on Aug. 25, 1957.
After first studies, Br. Biernatzki returned to Korea for regency (1962–64). In 1967, he earned a PhD in anthropology and sociology from Saint Louis University. Br. Biernatzki next studied theology for two years but chose not to proceed to ordination. Instead, he became a Jesuit brother and for the rest of his life served the Church and the Society as a Jesuit social scientist. He did tertianship in Japan and professed his final vows in Korea on Sept. 8, 1979.
Much of Br. Biernatzki's active life was spent in Korea. He taught and did research at Sogang University in Seoul from 1968 to 1989, during the exciting years when the Korean Mission was growing into a full province of the Society and Sogang University was changing from a small college into a major university.
After 1989, Br. Biernatzki was associated with the Center for the Study of Communication and Culture in London (1989–2003) and St. Louis (1993–2007). In St. Louis, he also worked with the Institute of Jesuit Sources. In 2007, failing health led to Br. Biernatzki's moving to the St. Camillus Jesuit Community in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin.