Fr. James Fanale, CSV, passed away suddenly in 2020 in rural St. Anne, IL, but his legacy remains bright some 125 miles away on the campus of St. Mary-of-the-Woods College in Terre Haute, IN.

Fr. James Fanale carries a relic of St. Anne at the beginning of a procession on her feast day.

During Fr. Fanale’s nearly 60 years as a Viatorian, four of them were spent at St. Mary of the Woods, where he served in Campus Ministry and as an assistant English professor, bringing with him his doctorate in Medieval English literature.

Yet, he still is remembered for his work outside the classroom and the chapel. Earlier this spring, one of the college’s archivists, Alice Quinlan, wrote a blog post, entitled “Happy Spring! Wildflowers at the Woods.” In it, she writes of the different varieties of wildflowers across campus, and while they may be fleeting, images of them taken by Fr. Fanale are preserved in the archives.

“Fr. Jim’s hobbies included photography,” Quinlan writes. “Over several years, he captured the variety and beauty of spring wildflowers on the campus. When he was reassigned in 1990, he gave his slides to the College library.”

Sampling of photos in the St. Mary of the Woods Archives

News of Fr. Fanale’s eye for photography came as a surprise to many of his Viatorian confreres, including Fr. Thomas Long, CSV, who was ordained with Fr. Fanale, in 1969.

“I had no idea of his passion for photography,” Fr. Long said. “As far as I know he didn’t bring it with him to St. Anne’s.”

Fr. Fanale was called back to the Province Center in 1990 to serve as archivist, during which he worked to document the history of the Viatorian Community. He would serve the next 23 years as pastor of St. Anne Church and caretaker of its historic shrine to St. Anne, which dates back more than 100 years.