Father James was born in Jacob's Prairie (MN) on July 25, 1874. He came to St. John's in 1889 and made vows as a Benedictine monk seven years later (1896). In 1901 he was ordained as a priest and was assigned to be assistant pastor of Richmond. Fr. James returned to St. John's after a year (1902) and became a professor in the school of science where he remained active until his death on July 19, 1934.
As a remedy for his tuberculosis he spent considerable time outside studying plants and animals. He ultimately became an expert on insects (accumulating a collection of about 10,000 specimens) and plants including mosses. In fact, he published an article in The Bryologist, Vol 16 (3), 42-45 (1913) "Mosses in the Vicinity of St. John's University, Collegeville, Stearns County, Minnesota" and this paper was read at Sullivant Moss Society Meeting, Minneapolis, Dec. 28, 1910. He was the author of several other publications including "Evolution: Its Present Standing" in 1922.
Fr. James was a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, charter member of the Entomological Society of America, and member of the Minnesota Academy of Science. Father James was truly a scientific renaissance man - perhaps the best overall biologist the Biology Department has ever had; he was an all-around expert in all of areas of biology and was an outstanding teacher and scholar. In honor of his contributions, the CSB/SJU Biology Department invertebrate collections are named after Father James.
caption on back of this photograph: "Xerophytic" botanist. August 1918. Osendorf's Stone Ledge. Fr. James Hansen, O.S.B.
caption on back of this photograph: Opuntia fragilis. Cactus on Osendorf's Stone Ledge. August 1918.
Rev. James Succumbs on Thursday, July 19. St. John's Record, August 18, 1934.
Copyright © 2009 College of Saint Benedict (37 South College Avenue, St. Joseph, Minnesota 56374; 320-363-5011) and
Saint John's University (P.O. Box 2000, Collegeville, Minnesota 56321; 320-363-2011). All rights reserved.
Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employers. E-mail the CSB/SJU Web Coordinator.