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Officially established as a parish in 1894 by Rev.
Stanislaus Nawrocki, pastor of St. Mary of Perpetual Help Church in
Chicago, St. Stanislaus
B & M parish was organized to serve approximately 20 Polish families
who lived in West Harvey. This village, located 19 miles south of downtown
was renamed Posen when its population became heavily Polish.
It appears that from 1896 to 1898, the Polish community in Posen was
attended by Rev. F. X. Kroll, pastor of St. Columba Church in the Hegewisch
district of Chicago. In 1898, Archbishop Patrick A. Feehan entrusted
the mission to the Resurrectionist Fathers who in turn appointed Rev.
Serfino Cosimi, CR as pastor. In addition to his work with Polish Catholics,
Father Cosimi also cared for Italian families who formed the nucleus
of St. Mary of Mount Carmel Church at 67th and Hermitage Ave. in Chicago.
Catholic directories for 1899 and 1900 indicate that St. Stanislaus Church
was a mission of the Italian parish.
A history of St. Stanislaus B & M parish written by John Iwicki,
CR contains the information that
Father Cosimi proved to be an energetic
pastor. He built the parish school and hall and arranged for lay teachers
to staff the school. So completely did Father
Cosimi win the confidence of the citizens of Posen, that they elected him
mayor of the village by a unanimous vote, in 1900. His administration
by many civic improvements which included the erection of gas lights
on the streets
of the town and the building of sidewalks.
In June 1902, St. Stanislaus became a separate parish under the direction
of a diocesan priest, Rev. August Koytek, a former assistant at St. Josaphat
in Chicago. Father Cosimi continued to serve as pastor of St. Mary of
Mount Carmel Church until his death on Jan. 10, 1906. According
to The New World
of July 5,
1902, Father Koytek was also placed in charge of the Polish community
in Blue Island known as St. Isidore Church.
In November 1903, Father Koytek was appointed to organize Assumption,
BVM Church for Polish Catholics living in the West Pullman neighborhood
Kroll returned to Posen where he served as pastor until 1904, when Rev.
Louis Szczygiel was placed in charge. In 1906, Rev. Peter H. Pyterek,
assistant at the Polish parish of St. Joseph in Chicago, was named pastor.
Baptismal records for St. Isidore Church in Blue Island were recorded
at St. Stanislaus Church until 1911, when the mission was raised to the
parish. Father Pyterek left Posen to become the first resident pastor
of St. Isidore Church in March 1911; he was succeeded by Rev. John F.
former assistant at the Polish parish of SS. Peter and Paul in Chicago.
A history of St. Stanislaus parish contains the information that
In 1913 [Posen] 'The Only Polish City in America'
invited prospective investors to a 'Big Polish Picnic.' Baseball,
dancing and refreshments
and lots could be purchased for $5 down and $1 a week. St.
Stan's of course prospered
as relatives and friends moved south to join the original settlers.
Shortly before he retired, Father Robakowski broke ground for a new
parish school at 14430 5. McKinley Ave. This brick structure
was completed under
of Rev. Felix Kachnowski, a former assistant at Holy Innocents
Church in Chicago, who began his pastorate in Posen in 1924.
When the new
it was under the direction of the Felician Sisters of Chicago;
this order of women religious replaced the Franciscan Sisters
staffed the school.
The Depression had a profound effect upon Posen, which was still
very much of a rural community in spite of its location near
many factories. According to a history of the parish
The village was paralyzed. Parishioners turned to their church
for help and consolation .... Father Kachnowski realized
pray,' and devoted
his attention to the material welfare of the town.
He brought Posen's plight to the attention of the federal government
a Federal Works
set up. This project gave the men work, a paycheck,
and restored their diginity as
heads of families. It also gave the town the sewers,
roads and water supply it needed.
Through the generosity of the parishioners, the debt
on the school was wiped out by the end of the
1930s. In July
of Assumption, BVM Church in West Pullman and
Rev. Stanislaus A. Rozak was appointed pastor of St.
Stanislaus B & M
Church. An author of religious books, pamphlets,
and plays, Father
Rozak was a former
professor at Quigley
Preparatory Seminary and he also had served as
superior of the Polish Mission Band of the Archdiocese
In preparation for the 50th jubilee of St. Stanislaus
parish many improvements were made in the parish
complex. The school
and choir loft were enlarged, and new altars and
confessionals were built. Much of
this work was done by high school age boys. The
Sisters' old convent was sold and moved away and
to a history of the parish
During this burst of building and remodeling, St.
Stan's provided the
town with a library. Space was allocated in
the lower floor of the rectory
fat 14414 S. McKinley Ave.]. Soon, because
of the cooperation of all, the
library was stocked with eight hundred books
and opened to the public.
Archbishop Samuel A. Stritch presided at the
special golden jubilee Mass which was celebrated
In April 1954, Father Rozak was named
pastor of the Polish parish of SS.
Peter and Paul
a former assistant at St.
John of God Church in the city, was
appointed pastor of St. Stanislaus B & M
By the mid 1950s, Posen had become
a cosmopolitan community as families
of many ethnic backgrounds
in the area.
Enrollment in the
school increased steadily, and with
it the need for more teachers. To provide
modern living quarters for the Felician
Sisters, Father Rydecki directed the
a new convent
at 14422 S. Mc Kinley
for this brick
building was broken in July 1955 and
the convent was completed later that
a cost of
Father Rydecki died on Sept. 16, 1955
at the age of 58. His successor at
W. Handzel, a former assistant
at St. Valentine
in Cicero, IL The new pastor saw the
a social center complete with gymnasium,
was laid in
and the project
was completed at a cost of $254,000
according to the plans of architect
Joseph L. Bennett.
Handzel was named
Church in Chicago in the spring of
1960, 507 children were enrolled in
school under the direction of nine
Felician Sisters and two lay teachers.
Rev. Aloysius F. Przypyszny, a former
chaplain at St. Mary of Nazareth hospital
served the Catholics
of Posen from
1962, when he was named pastor of St.
Bruno Church in the city.
Rev. Stanislaus Dopak, a former chaplain
at St. Elizabeth hospital in Chicago,
from the fall
of 1962 until the
fail of 1964,
when he was
named administrator of the Polish parish
of St. Francis Assisi in Chicago where
later was appointed pastor.
A member of the staff of the Associated
Catholic Charities since 1945, Rev.
Msgr. Bernard E.
Sokolowski was named
pastor of St.
1964. In 1960, when he was serving
as associate director of the Catholic
Department of Family
Care (an agency
Charities), Msgr. Sokolowski
was appointed to serve on the state
committee investigating problems of
among the aged.
This committee was one
of several in the state
of Illinois to report on the needs
of the aged in preparation for the
Conference on Aging held in Washington,
in January 1961.
Built for a small Catholic population
in the 1890s, St. Stanislaus Church
14426 S. McKinley Ave. was no longer
large enough to serve the many families
in the early 1960s.
the school facilities
were also inadequate, Msgr. Sokolowski
made plans for a new parish complex
school addition. An indication
generosity and commitment
of parishioners to this project was
the fact that they liquidated a $125,000
for the six classroom
school addition was
purchased and a residence and garage
on the site were razed along with the
at 14414 S. McKinley Ave.
The groundbreaking ceremony on July
9, 1967 for the new church turned out
Posen and an open air benediction of
the parish grounds. Completed at 14410
the circular style
church of St. Stanislaus
changes authorized by the Second Vatican
Council. According to architect James
R. Cronin, the
in such a
wall sweeps around the church, rising
to a belltower.
Just as St. Stanislaus Church and rectory
were nearing completion, the old frame
dedication of the new
by John Cardinal
Cody on May 25, 1969, coincided with
the 75th anniversary of the founding
to the diamond
Posen is in many ways unlike the average
suburb; it is more than a residential
near an economic center.
The village has the
continuity and history necessary
to make a community. Since Posen is 95%
history of the village closely
parallels the history of St. Stanislaus Church.
Active parish groups include the
Holy Name Society, Mothers Club,
Order of St.
Francis, Choir, Children of
Mary, Young Ladies
St. Stanislaus parish now serves
approximately 1,000 families
who live in the area
bounded by 139th St.
on the north; 152nd
the west; and Western Ave.
on the east. The parish includes
a small section
and Harvey, IL The Tri-State
Interstate 1-57 at the south
end of the parish.
In 1978, 460 children were
enrolled in St. Stanislaus
B & M
school under the direction
of nine Felician Sisters and
10 lay teachers.
Frank P. Cassidy
is associate pastor.
From "A History of
the Parishes of the Archdiocese of Chicago" - 1980
Reprinted with the permission
of the Chicago Archdiocese.