Fr. Richard Pighini, CSV, and his lush gardens at Maternity of the Blessed Virgin Pighini gardenMary Parish in Bourbonnais light up the cover of this month’s edition of Chicagoland Gardening Magazine.

Inside, a four-page spread showcases the garden refuge established by Fr. Pighini behind the rectory, as well as the floral landscaping efforts designed to enhance the historic grotto behind the church, built more than 100 years ago.

Deb Terrill, a local gardener and writer in the Bourbonnais area, wrote the story after interviewing Fr. Pighini and visiting his church campus.DSC_0028

Specifically, Terrill highlights his shade garden in his outdoor sanctuary, and Fr. Pighini’s ability to get great color sprays from his shade plants.

She points to Fr. Pighini’s background in college with his majors in art and design as shaping his interest in design and the creative aspects of gardening, as well as his family’s gardens, especially his father’s at their home in Chicago.

A corner of the garden sanctuary behind the rectory

A corner of the garden sanctuary behind the rectory

“Can I grow just about any plant and tend it so it thrives,” Fr. Pighini reflects in the story. “Yes, but what interests me more is the design and about creating beauty.”

Fr. Pighini’s love of design and beauty can be found inside the church as well. In 2013, he led a campaign to renovate and brighten the inside of the church sanctuary. The result was a dramatic change, with the ceiling cast as a starry night, gold leaf embellishments and all in constrast with the altar and gleaming white sanctuary.Maternity renovation

What’s more, every Christmas season, Fr. Pighini sets up his elaborate presepio, or Italian styled Baroque nativity scene. The individual pieces and vignettes from a bustling Neapolitan village during the Renaissance, have become a favorite tradition with his parish families.