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St. Stanislaus Kostka Church at the southeast corner of
Noble St. and Evergreen Ave. was the first Polish parish established in
In the 1860s, Polish families settled near the Rolling MIL district
along the North Branch of the Chicago River. As many of these families
were Kashubes, that is, Germanspeaking Poles, they attended Mass in
the German parishes of St. Michael and St. Joseph.
In February 1864, Rev. Leopold Moczygema, BM came to Chicago to hear
the Easter confessions of Polish Catholics. About 1864, the St. Stanislaus
Kostka Benevolent Society was formed. This group became the moving force
behind the organization of a Polish parish. In 1867, the Society purchased
four lots at Noble and Bradley St. (now Potomac Ave.) at a cost of $1,700.
Between 1866 and 1869, two Slav priests ministered to the Polish Catholics
of Chicago: Rev. Francis X. Szulak, SJ (Shulak) and Rev. Joseph Molitor.
The latter had been named pastor of St. Wenceslaus Church at DeKoven
and Desplaines St. in October 1866.
During this period, Peter Kiolbassa, the leader of the St. Stanislaus
Kostka Society, and Rev. Joseph P. Roles, pastor of Holy Name Church,
were corresponding with the Resurrectionist Fathers in Rome in an attempt
to secure Polish-speaking priests. About April 1869, Rev. John Wollowski,
CR conducted a mission for Polish Catholics in St. Joseph Church, which
was then located at Chicago and Wabash Ave.
In September 1869, work began on a two story frame church at Noble and
Bradley St. according to the plans of architect Julian S. Pietruszek.
After several delays, the Resurrectionist Fathers appointed Father Wollowski
to be in charge of the Polish Catholics of St. Stanislaus Kostka Church.
He arrived in Chicago on Nov. 1, 1869 only to find that a diocesan priest,
Juskiewicz, had been named pastor in October 1869.
The more nationalistically oriented members of St. Stanislaus Kostka parish opposed
the appointment of Father Juskiewicz because he was a Lithuanian, not a Pole.
Moreover, the title to the church had been drawn up in the name of the St. Stanislaus
Kostka Society, contrary to diocesan regulations. Bishop Thomas Foley refused
to dedicate St. Stanislaus Kostka Church until the title was conveyed to the
Catholic Bishop of Chicago, Corporation Sole.
Violence broke out in the parish in 1870 when six men beat Father Juskiewicz
and threatened him to resign his pastorate. In his study, The American Faith
the Persistence of Chicago Polonia, 1870-1920 Joseph John Parot states that Rev.
Adolph Bakanowski, CR was in Chicago during the summer of 1870, and that dissatisfied
members of the parish requested him to become pastor. He refused, and the attack
on Father Juskiewicz followed shortly thereafter.
Following Father Juskiewicz's departure for Mount Carmel, Pa. in September 1870,
Bishop Foley appointed Father Bakanowski to care for the members of St. Stanislaus
Kostka parish. Under his leadership, the title to the church was given to the
Catholic Bishop of Chicago. As a result, Bishop Foley dedicated St. Stanislaus
Kostka Church on June 18, 1871. In its account of the ceremony, the Chicago Times
The Polish church, on the corner of Bradley and Noble streets, which
was a bone of contention between the pastor and congregation last
was consecrated . . . by Bishop Foley and 200 members were confirmed.
Three sermons were delivered during the exercises, one of which was
English, one in German, and the other in Polish.
Attending the dedication were members of a new group, the Society
of St. Joseph, which had been organized in St. Stanislaus Kostka
parish in February 1871. Before
long, this Society was at odds with the older St. Stanislaus Kostka Benevolent
In July 1871, Rev. Jerome Kajsiewicz, CR, General of the Resurrection Order,
visited Chicago and met with Bishop Foley. So impressed was Bishop Foley
with the accomplishments of the Resurrectionists in Chicago, that he gave
the right to staff all Polish parishes formed in the Chicago diocese for
the next 99 years.
In 1872, St. Adalbert cemetery was organized by Polish and Bohemian Catholics
on 21 acres of land in Niles, IL On Nov. 14, 1872, members of the St. Stanislaus
Kostka Benevolent Society celebrated the seventh anniversary of the founding
of their organization.
Although St. Stanislaus Kostka Church was not destroyed in the Chicago
Fire of 1871, by 1872 it had become overcrowded. Father Bakanowski called
to decide whether St. Stanislaus Kostka Church should be enlarged
or whether another church should be built in the parish. The Society
of St. Joseph
was given permission to sponsor the construction of a church. They purchased
land on Noble St. near Chapin St. and in 1873, Holy Trinity Church was
A 20 year struggle ensued during which time members of the Society of
St. Joseph fought to have Holy Trinity Church established as a separate
would not be under the control of the Resurrectionist Fathers. An account
of this conflict, which divided the Polish community into two factions-Stanislawowo
(St. Stanislaus Kostka) and Trojcowo (Holy Trinity) - can be found in
the history of Holy Trinity parish.
When Father Bakanowski was recalled to Rome in May 1873, Rev. John Wollowski,
CR, his assistant, was named pastor. He served the people of St. Stanislaus
Kostka Church until Sept. 15, 1873, when Rev. Felix Zwiardowski, CR was
placed in charge.
When Father Zwiardowski secured the services of the School Sisters of
Notre Dame from Milwaukee, WI to open a school, he was accused by some
parishioners of trying to "Germanize" the Polish children of
St. Stanislaus Kostka parish. Nevertheless, 150 students attended school
when it opened on Feb. 2,
1874. By the fall of that year, 350 children were enrolled under the
direction of the Notre Dame Sisters.
Following Father Zwiardowski's return to Texas, Rev. Simon Wieczorek, CR
served as pastor of St. Stanislaus Kostka Church from July to September
1874. The real
growth of the parish is associated with the pastorate of Rev. Vincent Barzynski,
CR, who began his work in St. Stanislaus Kostka Church on Sept. 18, 1874.
One of the founders of the Polish Roman Catholic Union of America (PRCUA),
Barzynski was instrumental in the organization of a number of Polish parishes
throughout the diocese.
Polish parishes in the city of Chicago which were organized by Father
Barzynski include St. Hedwig, St. John Cantius, St. Stanislaus Bishop & Martyr,
St. Hyacinth, and St. Mary of the Angels.
In October 1874, a convent was begun to house the School Sisters of Notre
Dame. Also completed in 1874 was a rectory on Ingraham St. (now Evergreen
Barzynski then turned his attention to the construction of a larger church.
His plans were to build one huge structure and to use Holy Trinity Church
as a parish
school or hall. This decision was opposed by members of the Society of
St. Joseph, who considered Holy Trinity Church as their own.
In 1875, land was purchased at Noble and Ingraham St. and in 1876, work
began on St. Stanislaus Kostka Church. In its account of the cornerstone
which took place on July 1, 1877, the Chicago Tribune commented:
The new church is situated on the corner of Noble and Ingraham
streets, immediately east of the old church, and is 80 x 200 feet
sions, of the Romanesque order of architecture, built of white brick
stone trimmings, and when completed wIL be quite an imposing and
very commodious house of worship.
Mass in the lower church was celebrated on Christmas Eve 1877. Work
continued on the magnificent edifice according to the plans of
architect P. C. Keely.
Finally, on July 10, 1881, St. Stanislaus Kostka Church was dedicated.
In 1889, a large school was constructed in St. Stanislaus Kostka
parish. Located at Noble and Bradley St., it contained 16 classrooms,
meeting halls, and
a large auditorium.
In 1890, St. Stanislaus College (later renamed Weber high school)
was organized in the old frame church. This was the first secondary
by the Resurrectionists in the United States. In 1899, St. Stanislaus
College was relocated
at 1456 W. Division St. in a four story brick building. It remained
at this location for the next 50 years.
In 1892, the twin towers of St. Stanislaus Kostka Church were completed
at a cost of $99,850. In its 25th year, St. Stanislaus Kostka was
the largest Polish
parish in the world. On Dec. 10, 1892, The New World reported that:
Owing to the rapid growth of this parish and the large territory
covers, it was deemed advisable to divide it, as it is impossible
church to accommodate this rapidly growing congregation. A new
wIL be made early next year and a church built in the neighborhood
Chicago avenue and Carpenter streets for the Polish residents
Although Father Barzynski had already organized St. Hedwig and
St. Hyacinth parishes, St. John Cantius Church was the
first real division
parish. On Apr. 8, 1893, The New World reported that: "Arrangements
for the building operations on the new Polish Church on
Chicago avenue and Carpenter
street are now completed and work will begin in about a
In June 1893, the long standing controversy over Holy Trinity
Church was resolved by Archbishop Francis Satolli, the
in charge of the Congregation of the Holy Cross in South
Bend, IN. Under the leadership of Rev. Casimir Sztuczko,
parish flourished. The present church of Holy Trinity was
constructed in 1906 on Noble St., midway between the German
of St. Boniface
(now Chestnut) St. and St. Stanislaus Kostka Church at
Ingraham St. (now Evergreen Ave.).
Father Barzynski died on May 2, 1899. His successor was Rev.
John Kasprzyski, CR, who had been the first pastor of St.
Church. He acquired
the White Eagle Turner hail which was remodeled-at a total
cost of $65,000-as a recreation
center for the youth of St. Stanislaus Kostka parish.
In order to provide more classroom and convent quarters,
the parish auditorium was remodeled. This building, which
24 new classrooms,
on Oct. 23, 1904.
Following Father Kasprzycki's election as Superior General
of the Resurrection Order, Rev. Francis Gordon, CR was named
Church on Jan. 6, 1906. He had been the first pastor of St.
Mary of the Angels Church.
Construction of a new convent, school, and auditorium began
in the spring of 1906. The complex was nearing completion
22, 1906. Also destroyed in this fire was the original St.
Stanislaus Kostka Church. Until a new convent could be built,
resi4ed in the
old St. Mary of Nazareth hospital at 511 W. Division St.
In August 1907, the
of Notre Dame moved into their new quarters. The parish auditorium
was dedicated on Jan. 1, 1908.
On May 10, 1908, the five story brick school at the northeast
corner of Noble St. and Potomac Ave. was dedicated. At the
time, 5,438 families
to St. Stanislaus Kostka parish and 4,500 children were enrolled
in the school.
In 1909, Father Gordon returned to St. Mary of the Angels
parish and Rev. Stanislaus Rogalski, CR was named pastor.
He was succeeded
1912 by Rev.
Stanislaus Siatka, CR. In 1915, Rev. Francis Dembinski, CR
was appointed pastor of St. Stanislaus Kostka Church.
In 1914, the School Sisters of Notre Dame established a two
year commercial high school course for girls. The golden
the founding of
St. Stanislaus Kostka Church was celebrated on Nov. 4, 1917.
In 1920, Rev. John Obyrtacz, CR, pastor of St. Hedwig Church,
was named pastor of St. Stanislaus Kostka Church. He was
1923 by Rev.
Thaddeus Ligman, CR, who had been principal of St. Stanislaus
The golden jubilee of the Polish Roman Catholic Union of
America was celebrated on Nov. 18, 1923 in St. Stanislaus
3, 1924, the
School Sisters of Notre Dame celebrated the 50th year of
their work in the parish
In the 1920s, parish membership declined somewhat as Polish
families moved to newer parishes on the northwest side of
children were enrolled in St. Stanislaus Kostka school, making
it the second largest grammar school in the Archdiocese.
1135 N. Cleaver St. enrolled 2,904 children.
Rev. Stanislaus Siatka, CR returned as pastor in 1925. On
Nov. 11, 1928, an addition to St. Stanislaus College was
at 1521 W. Haddon Ave., contained a gymnasium, cafeteria,
and classrooms. Two years later, St. Stanislaus College
Weber high school
Joseph Weber, CR, formerly of Lwow, Poland.
In January 1929, Rev. John Drzewiecki, CR was named pastor.
Under his leadership, the present rectory at 1351 W.
in 1929. The
three story brick building, which replaced the old parish
residence, was designed by
the architectural firm of Sandel and Strong.
On Jan. 5, 1935, Rev. Bruno Lazarowicz, CR was named
pastor of St. Stanislaus Kostka parish. By 1939, a four
was in operation
under the direction of the School Sisters of Notre Dame.
In June 1940, the golden jubilee of the founding of St.
Stanislaus College was celebrated. The 75th anniversary
of St. Stanislaus
Kostka Church was
on Sept. 27, 1942 and the 75th anniversary of the Resurrectionists'
coming to Chicago was celebrated on Nov. 22, 1945.
In 1948, Rev. Stanislaus Fiolek, CR was named pastor.
He served the parish until July 1951, when Rev. Valentine
On Aug. 24, 1949, the Resurrectionists broke ground for
a new boys' high school at Palmer St. and Lockwood Ave.
In the fall of 1950, the Resurrection Fathers opened
a technical branch of Weber high school in the old St.
and 1521 W. Haddon Ave. In September 1952, this program
was reorganized as Gordon Technical high school. In 1962,
Tech was relocated
In the 1950s, plans for the Northwest (now John F. Kennedy)
expressway were made. As envisioned, the expressway would
cut through the
parish property. This would
necessitate the demolition of St. Stanislaus Kostka Church
as well as several of the parish buildings. Opposition
to the plan
Catholic community in the city which regarded St. Stanislaus
Kostka Church as the "mother
parish" of Chicago's Polonia.
The route of the expressway was extended eastward, and
the removal of parish buildings was kept to a minimum:
was razed and 12 classrooms
were demolished. The old school building at 1366 W. Potomac
Ave. was reconstructed and work began on a new high school.
Rev. Casimir V. Polinski, CR, who was appointed pastor
in 1957, directed the construction of the new high school
building at 1255
N. Noble St.
This modern brick and glass structure was ready for classes
in September 1959. On Nov. 5, 1960, the Northwest expressway
opened from Lake
St. to Foster
Many of the Polish families whose homes were in the path
of the expressway relocated in other parishes on the
of Chicago. Not
only was the base of
support for the parish diminished, but the reimbursement
from the State of ILinois did not cover the expenses
incurred in building
and in remodeling
the old grammar shcool.
Between 1955 and 1959, enrollment in the grammar school
declined from 1,121 to 901 students. During this period,
enrollment in St.
high school increased, from 305 to 350 girls.
On July 23, 1961, Rev. Marian A. Kaleth, CR was named
pastor of St. Stanislaus Kostka Church. As a result of
by Vatican II,
Masses in the Polish language were introduced in St.
Stanislaus Kostka Church.
In the wake of the massive urban renewal which accompanied
the building of the Kennedy expressway, a new community
Organization, was formed. The parish is a member of this
In the evening of June 19, 1964, lightning struck the
south tower of St. Stanislaus Kostka Church. Shortly
half of the structure. Since the cost of rebuilding was
prohibitive, the tower was leveled, and the insurance
money was used to
pay off part of
the parish debt.
The 100th anniversary of the founding of St. Stanislaus
Kostka parish was celebrated on Oct. 29, 1967. At the
students were enrolled
the grammar school
and 352 girls were enrolled in the high school.
In October 1974, Rev. Francis S. Rog, CR was named pastor
of St. Stanislaus Kostka parish.
Due to the inability of the Congregation of the Holy
Cross to provide Polishspeaking priests for Holy Trinity
were given charge
of the parish on July 1, 1975. Rev. Casimir V. Polinski,
CR, a former
pastor of St.
Stanislaus Kostka Church, became the first Resurrectionist
administrator of Holy Trinity Church in 82 years.
Following Father Rog's election as Provincial Superior
of the Chicago Province of the Congregation of the Resurrection,
Balazs, CR was
named pastor effective Jan. 21, 1976. A graduate of Weber
high school, he had been
elected Assistant Provincial in 1975.
On Dec. 14, 1976, Father Balazs and the School Sisters
of Notre Dame announced that as a result of declining
high school would
close in June 1977. Subsequently, children in the grammar
school began attending classes
in the former high school building at 1255 N. Noble St.
The old brick grade school at 1355 W. Potomac Ave. was
fall of 1978 when it was razed.
In the early 1970s, a number of Spanish-speaking families
from Puerto Rico and Mexico joined the parish. To meet
the needs of
Balazs and associate pastor Rev. Raymond Szczuka, CR
learned to speak Spanish.
On Christmas Eve 1977, members of St. Stanislaus Kostka
parish attended a special anniversary Mass: 100 years
Dec. 24,, 1877,
in the basement of the present church for the first time.
On Dec 21, 1979, St. Stanislaus Kostka parish was profiled
in The Chicago
Catholic (formerly The New World). According to the article,
parish membership then included 400-500 Hispanic families
who lived in the
area bounded by
North Ave. on the north; Division St. on the south; Damen
Ave. on the west; and Elston
Ave. on the east as well as an equal number of Polish
families who lived outside the neighborhood. A third
by the parish
of black families.
Although the majority of blacks who live in the area
are not Catholic, a number send their children to the
Of the 260 children
35% were Anglo-Polish, 35% were black, and 30% were Latino.
The faculty includes School Sisters of Notre Dame and
Rev. Joseph F. Malczyk, CR has been pastor since Jan.
1, 1980. Ordained in 1969, Father Malczyk taught Spanish
to his appointment
pastor of this historic parish.
The "mother parish" of Chicago Polonia, St. Stanislaus Kostka is now
trilingual in character: the Sunday schedule of Masses includes two in English,
one in Polish, and one in Spanish. Active parish organizations are the Mothers'
Club, Holy Name Society, Senior Citizens, Novitiate Society, Spanish Society,
Rosary Ladies, Ladies' and Girls' Apostolate of Prayer, St. Therese Society,
St. Vincent de Paul Society, and St. Cecilia Senior Choir. The parish supports
a "Union of Societies" which operates as a
Parish Council. A Youth Ministry Group has been organized
Platt; he also
established a guitar
group which provides music at Sunday Mass.
Associate pastors of St. Stanislaus Kostka Church include
Rev. Raymond Szczuka, CR; Rev. Joaquin Guaman, CR; and
CR. Nicholas Flores
and Angel Luis Mercado serve as permanent deacons.
From "A History of
the Parishes of the Archdiocese of Chicago" - 1980
Reprinted with the permission
of the Chicago Archdiocese.