James Stolpa (1941-2012) grew up attending St. Stanislaus Kostka Parish and School and became an accomplished keyboardist and teacher himself. His wonderful essay on St. Stan's history is copied here because it is on a personal website which may disappear at any time. All copyright resides with the author and his family.

Congregational History

St. Stanislaus Kostka Parish in Winona, Minnesota was first organized in 1871 when a group of approximately 100 Polish families met and decided to organize their own parish where they could worship in the language they understood.[1]  Music has been the key factor in preserving a Polish cultural heritage in this parish. At some point in its history this changed and became a reminder of the parish’s past.  This is the story of that experience.

Polish Catholic immigrants first arrived in Winona about 1855.[2]  These first settlers were from an area of Poland on the Baltic Sea near Gdansk, known as Kaszubia.   They came with no knowledge of English and when they attended St. Thomas parish church, located in the center of the city on the corner of Center and 8th Streets, they benefited little from services they could not understand.  Soon they were joined by others who were encouraged to join the first small group.  By 1888 there were 700 Polish families in Winona.[3]  The homeland had been controlled by Prussia and these Polish immigrants had been forced to learn German.  This knowledge allowed them to gain some benefit from attendance at the German Parish in Winona, St. Joseph’s.

The east side, known as the Fourth Ward of Winona, became the home for most of the Poles.  The first parish church was ready by 1872.  There was no other Catholic Church in that area of town and so by 1873 they were fortunate to receive their first resident pastor for the newly formed St. Stanislaus Kostka parish, the Reverend Joseph Juszkiewicz.[4]  Father Juszkiewicz was replaced by Father Alexander Michnowski in January, after conflict developed between the pastor and some church members[5], and he was soon followed by Father Romuald Byzewski.  After 14 years, Father Byzewski retired to a Franciscan monastery in Wisconsin.  From 1890 until 1894 there was a succession of pastors until the arrival of Reverend James W. J. Pacholski who served the parish until 1932.  It was during his pastorate that the present Romanesque style church was built and dedicated in 1895.  Its seating capacity at that time was 1800 and it included two balconies, one above the other.  The upper balcony became the choir loft.  This building was to be the pride of the Polish community for decades to come.

In 1932 Father Pacholski, now known as Monsignor Pacholski, was followed by Father Joseph F. Cieminski.  Father Cieminski apparently had an interest in music and was responsible for the purchase and installation of a three-manual pipe organ thought to be built originally by the Skinner Pipe Organ Company.  Dedicated in 1935, it has since been rebuilt but retains the original design.  Its three divisions, one on either side of the lower balcony and one on the upper balcony where the console was originally located, remains an impressive site and sound to the present day.  The program for the event, interestingly, appears not to include one single Polish hymn even though Polish hymns were a part of the parish Masses right from the beginning of the parish.

The organ, as pipe organs often do, fell into bad times and was badly abused by an organ builder during the 1960’s.  About 1980, the Lurth Organ Company of Mankato, Minnesota rebuilt the instrument and further developed its tonal capacities.  It remains in working condition and is an important part of the musical heritage of this parish.

Polish ethnic practices were a part of the parish life.  Such experiences continued strongly into the 1960’s and included blessing of the food on Holy Saturday morning (everything to be eaten at the Easter morning breakfast was brought to the Church in a basket) and the distribution of unleavened bread to be broken by the father of the family at the Christmas Eve meal. There were events at which the children and young people, in full Polish dress, danced traditional Polish dances for the enjoyment of the parish.  During the Winona Winter Carnival, the parish sponsored a refreshments of Polish sweets in the church hall for all participants in the skating shows and competition a block away.

The Polish language was an integral part of parish life as might be expected.  The particular language, however, known as Kashubian, a kind of Polish that was suppressed by the Prussians and is considered by other Poles from other parts of the country to be incorrect,[6] is what is spoken in that area of Minnesota and western Wisconsin.  It remains the language and pronunciation used still.  The first generation of Poles coming at the time they did were able to raise their children in the language and customs so important to them. The second generation which would be my grandparents were born in America. Many of this generation were born near the end of the 19th century and lived well into the second half of the 20th.  The language was still a part of their lives.  They could speak and understand it.  Their children, my parents’ generation, by the 1930s and 1940s were becoming very much assimilated into American culture and the language began to disappear from their memories.  They probably could understand enough of it in their youth, but by the time my generation came along beginning in the 1940s, the Polish language was no longer spoken at home or in the homes of our grandparents to any great extent.

Throughout all of these years a primary reason for this parish was being able to use the Polish language and one of the ways it was used was in Liturgy.  Polish sermons were frequent, even in the early 1940s, but Msgr. Roy Literski, who served as pastor of St. Stanislaus in the mid-1970s until 1983, recalls that preaching in Polish ended with the end of World War II in 1945.[7]  The other way in which the language was heard in the Liturgy was through the singing of Polish hymns.

The first several generations of Polish immigrants were people who were unskilled workers.[8]  They lived largely in Ward Four of the city which is the east side of Winona.  Their homes were built on what were called half-lots and each home, although simple, was always clean and pride was taken to keep them that way.

In addition to the church and the parochial school, the Polish language weekly newspaper Wiarus, published in Winona from 1886 to 1919 was a major supporter of Polish culture and traditions.  It announced its goals in its first issue: “Our slogan is God save ‘Polonia,’ under this slogan we wish to unify our forces so as to be firm against our adversaries, to preserve our holy faith in its purest form, to save our ethnic traditions, to educate our youth and to secure for ourselves a respectable position in the United States in political and economic fields.”[9]

This statement speaks for its own time, but many of us in this day, even though we are no longer members of the parish, would relate well to what Hieronim Derdowski, editor of Wairus, wrote in 1886.  The heart felt sensitivities of the Polish heart are well represented by these words. In turn, when one listens to the melodies of the Polish hymns, one hears the same characteristic feelings as described above, not only about the “holy faith,” but all the other points as well.

There is a Polish hymnal dated 1908 in the hands of many of the generations that sang those hymns during the Mass.  It is all in the Polish language and the book contains over 500 pages of hymns with verse texts below, broken into sections according to the liturgical season or by subject.  This includes hymns directed to the Eucharist as well as hymns addressed to Jesus and the Virgin Mary and St. Joseph.  There are hymns for funerals and sections with the psalm texts in Polish with musical settings.

Pre-Vatican II, the Latin Mass was utilized in three modes called Solemn High Mass, High Mass and Low Mass.  The two most commonly used forms were the High Mass and Low Mass and these corresponded to Mass with sung ordinary parts considered High Mass and Mass without sung ordinary parts, considered a Low Mass.  The structure of the Mass then as now included parts called the Ordinary.  These were texts that never changed and if included for the day could be sung by a choir or even a soloist.  They were Kyrie Eleison (Lord, have mercy), Gloria In Excelsis Deo (Glory to God in the Highest), Credo (the Nicene Creed), Sanctusand Benedictus (which today are sung as one complete text, but then divided before and after the words of consecration), and the Agnus Dei (Lamb of God.)  During a High Mass, if these parts were included, they were always to be sung.

An interesting thing developed at St. Stanislaus Kostka parish regarding these ordinary parts of the Mass.  Sister Mary Edward, who served as the primary organist and choir director for all groups except the adults from approximately 1933 until the mid- 1960’s, told me that the Polish people had a special dispensation to sing Polish hymns during these times of the ordinary instead of the required appropriate liturgical texts.  Instead of the liturgical texts being sung by the choir they were recited privately by the priest-celebrant while the choir sang a Polish hymn using texts that proclaimed Catholic beliefs, but were neither the required Latin texts nor translations of the required Latin texts.[10]  And so, when in the Latin Rite one would expect to hear the words of the ordinary, members of this parish heard Polish words sung to Polish hymn melodies.

Why were these hymns important to this people? Are the reasons the same today? The music itself speaks of the Polish people.  The structures of the songs, the melodies themselves, are products of a Slavic people that have known oppression and a sense of loss for their country.

These Polish hymns were understood by those who heard them, perhaps into the 1950s, but by 1945 the language was quickly disappearing from daily usage as the Poles became assimilated into the American culture.  The language was passed to the new generation largely through the Polish hymnody and learned in the parish school.

Many of the boys of the parish served as altar boys and had to learn the Latin responses to the priest’s part at Mass, something the boys did not understand either. The altar boys would experience the adults in the sacristy frequently speaking Polish.  These adults were the Pastor and the Sister Sacristan.  It’s not too difficult to understand why they spoke in Polish. Probably there were words spoken that the priest did not want the boys to hear.  More likely, though, the use of the Polish was a remnant of the Polish culture of an ethnic parish quickly losing its native tongue.

Still, up until the 1950s the School Sisters of Notre Dame who staffed the parish school and provided much of the labor for maintaining the daily liturgical activities in the church were required to be of Polish descent, and if possible, able to use the language.[11]  Thus it was that in the 1940s and 1950s when this writer attended classes in the parish school, Polish was still being taught to the children not so much as a spoken language, but as a language pronunciation skill.  It was part of the duties of the parish school girls to sing in the various children’s choirs and sing Polish hymns at Mass.  Doubtless this was also seen as a way to continue the tradition of the language and the hymnody into the future.

Interestingly, the girls of the various grades from about fourth on through the ninth grade, did most of the choir work while the boys served as altar servers.  The music room in the school often had Polish hymn texts written on the board with helps for pronunciation.  Speaking to those women today, most of them if not all, will tell you they never understood a word.

Msgr. Nicephore Grulkowski served as pastor from 1946 until 1969.  During his tenure a parish boys’ choir was formed and they sang Polish primarily during the Christmas season.  They were robed in cassocks and surpluses and would process into the church on Christmas Eve. During those years the boys became something of a celebrated group being featured on the local radio station singing Polish Christmas carols.  The remainder of the year they learned and sang Latin texts for the Liturgy.

A section of the hymnal contains fifty-two Polish Christmas Carols. At least a dozen of these are familiar texts and tunes to my generation.  One or two have made their way into the standard repertoire of Christmas Carols in English.  Pictured on the left is an example of one of the Christmas carols named Pójdźmy wszyscy do stajenki.  Notice the dance like rhythm of the notes, the small print, the additional text under the music and the absence of a full treble and bass clef score for purposes of singing and/or accompanying.  Another Carol is Lulajże Jezuņiu found in many books of Christmas Carols sung in English. What is interesting to us who know these hymns from our childhood days is the difference in performance between those of us who grew up with these tunes and a performance by non-Slavs. There is something in the music itself that is uniquely of the Polish heritage.

The Polish heritage of dance certainly influences the structure, too, of these hymns.  There is a certain exuberance, at times a certain lilt that calls for body movement.  The tunes make use of large intervallic skips at times, even octave skips, sung at a brisk pace.  And at other times the melodies, such as in the Christmas Carols, clearly are lullabies to the infant Jesus.

For those of us through the years who expressed an interest in playing the organ, this hymnal was also our training in keyboard harmony.  This little black book, measuring about four inches by six inches and about an inch thick contains almost all the hymns brought to this country by those early immigrants.  The print is very tiny, something like 8 or 9 point.  Each hymn consists of a two part treble melodic line with text, seldom more than one verse attached to the musical line.  Additional verses are printed below the hymn and in many cases continue on to the next page with no additional notation.  You simply had to know the melody as a singer.  The organist accompanying these hymns had to create, on the spot, a four part harmonization.  This necessitated understanding basic keyboard harmony and its accompanying symbols written under the notes.  In my case, this was my first introduction to harmony and served me well as a music-education student at St. John’sUniversity.  Most people who study piano and organ are not exposed to this training unless they take formal classes in theory.  I treasure this experience, needless to say.

During our generation’s time in the parish school we were given Polish language lessons occasionally through the 4th grade, approximately 1950-51, by Sister Vincenta,[12] also a member of the School Sisters of Notre Dame.  She resided at the convent in what seemed like semi-retirement, but on occasion would come to the school classrooms and teach a lesson in the Polish language. Sadly, very little of this resides in our memories today.  Those lessons were too infrequent to have given us much to build on.  We did learn to pray the Lord’s Prayer and the Hail Mary in Polish, neither of which I can do beyond the first several words today.

Parish funerals always involved one of the parish school girls’ choirs.  While the boys were called upon to be servers or altar boys, the girls went to the choir loft to sing what was known as a “Requiem” Mass, from the Latin Requiem aeternam or Eternal rest.  At funerals the ordinary parts of the Mass were always sung and always in Latin.  Polish hymns however were used at two times in particular and continue to be used that way today.  One of those times was near the end of the Mass.  One of the hymns was called Dobry Jezu or Good Jesus give him/her eternal rest.  After Mass part of the funeral ritual was, as it is in the reformed liturgy today, prayers over the body.  After some prayers of blessing, in Latin, the priest would bless with holy water and incense the body in recognition of the person’s dignity through baptism.  During that time the choir would sing what has become a standard at most funerals even to this day.  None of us could spell the words nor did we know the meaning.  This mournful melody was always sung unaccompanied. Today it is frequently sung as a solo by Ben Schultz, an elderly gentleman who still sings in the choir.[13]  One such tender melody, almost a dirge like tune, is Witaj Krolowo Niebe or Hail King of Heaven.  This hymn tune is a staple at all Polish funerals today.  When someone of Polish descent dies, who may no longer be a member of the parish, requests by family members that this tune will be sung at the funeral of their loved one is common.  This requires the handful of Polish singers from St. Stanislaus to attend and sing at funerals in Catholic Churches throughout the city.  Ben is one of the last of the generation before mine. When asked what will happen to these hymns when this group of choir members is gone, he simply says, “I don’t know, I suppose they will just disappear.”

When Vatican II reforms were introduced into the Liturgy, everything changed.  No longer was the distinction of high Mass and low Mass a valid distinguishing factor. The ordinary parts of the Mass were now in English along with all the other parts of the Mass.  Now, when the priest recited those parts, they became texts that the people were to recite with him.  The norm after Vatican II became full and active participation by all the faithful, not only the priest.  When a choir is present they sing or lead the singing of the ordinary.  Hymns are placed primarily at the beginning of the Mass, at the Preparation of the Gifts, during the Communion procession and at the end for the dismissal or recessional and the hymn texts are to be sung by all present.  Just looking at the Polish language one can see it is almost impossible to pronounce without some training in pronunciation.  The question of understanding what is being sung and the ability or lack thereof to pronounce the language quickly eliminated the Polish hymns from the regular experience of the faithful attending Mass.  Choir members at the time, especially those of the generation before us, were deeply saddened and in some cases tears probably were shed.

The time following Vatican II was problematic for all in the Roman Catholic Church.  The reforms of the liturgy necessitated adjustments by the priest/celebrant as well as by the laity.  Many in the Catholic Church mourned the loss of the Latin and at St. Stanislaus, this coupled with the loss of a high Mass of Polish hymnody was all the more difficult.

But all was not lost.  The Polish hymns are so much a part of our very being as Poles and as descendants of those original immigrants that these tunes stay in the mind and for those who sang them, though not knowing the meaning of the words, many of the texts remain in their memories.  Father Paul Breza, founder of the Polish Cultural Institute in Winona, tells how when he travels to Poland today the people there are amazed and impressed that we still sing the songs and that the melodies are still much a part of our lives.

When Karol Wotyla became Pope John Paul II, for those of us of Polish descent, he was our Pope.  When he visited his homeland and sang many of the devotional songs we know, this was part of our heritage, too.  Perhaps John Paul’s great devotion to the Mother of God is not such a unique experience for a Pole.  There are sixty-nine such devotional songs in our Polish hymnal, dedicated to Mary, Mother of God.  Many of these hymns have seven or more verses printed under the two part melody.

One of the most famous hymns to Mary and sung by John Paul is Serdeczna Matko.  Any Pole who sang Polish devotional hymns at some point in their life time would recognize this tune if not the words. For most of my generation of singers the meaning of the text, if it ever was present is long gone.  A few words will remind us of what it is about, such as the word Matko, meaning Mother.

Father Paul Breza describes a recent experience he had in visiting Poland in the fall of 2005.  He met a young man who played the organ for the liturgy using the required ritual texts of the reformed Vatican II liturgy. Father Breza remarked that hearing the solo organ pieces played during the liturgy were like hearing something that was written as if the war had ended yesterday, as if victory and freedom had just been won.  When asked to explain, he said, the music of this young musician spoke from a Polish heart as only such music can.  He referred to the Polish composer Chopin saying that no one ever wrote or ever will write such music again.There is something unique about the Polish experience,[14]very much a part of the expression of the heart in the singing of the Polish hymns.

Part of what comes through in this music is the sense of what we might call secular culture of the Polish people.  Still, for Poles, their secular world is profoundly connected to their spiritual world.  During the occupation by foreign military forces in two world wars and later under the domination of the Soviet Union, the Polish people kept their sense of nationality through their membership in the Roman Catholic Church and church life.  Often a communist government would be frustrated in its goals to suppress and wipe out remnants of religion in the Polish people, even going so far as to build a Nowa Huta (New City) in which there would be no church building. Still, the people gathered there to celebrate the sacraments outside, without use of any sacred images by law, and eventually were allowed to build a new church building in the city with their own labor.  This spirit is the one that speaks in these hymns.

It is a commentary on the Polish experience to say that the Poles in those early groups of immigrants were not skilled laborers. Family was a prime value for them and family meant social gatherings at the parish church.  As the generations passed, the sense of ethnic parishes diminished having been eliminated around 1950 with the creation of the new Cathedral parish from two ethnic parishes.

Rapid growth of St. Stanislaus Kostka parish meant that Polish families would inevitably move out from the east side of Winona to other parts of the city.  By 1906 there was a large Polish population living in the western part of the city who found it increasingly more obvious that their own place of worship in the west end needed to be built.  St. Casimir’s Parish became a daughter parish and was established by Bishop Cotter on the corner of Broadway and Ewing Streets.[15]  The Polish cultural heritage continued in that new place.

Along with growth comes intermingling of nationalities and soon marriages between Germans and Poles, Irish and Poles, and Bohemians and Poles brought Polish names to the membership roles in the other four Catholic parishes in the city.

By 1982, when my wife and I moved back to Winona, there were two organizations promoting the Polish heritage in the city.  Never openly claiming to be in competition, unfortunately, the two organizations have at times been less than friendly to each other.  The Polish Heritage Society seems to be an organization for social functions and the naming of someone to the Polish Hall of Fame in Winona each year.  The other organization, organized and funded initially by the founder, Father Paul Breza, is located today in a building on the east side of the city on the corner of Second and Liberty Streets called The Polish Cultural Institute.  The Institute attempts to gather and preserve whatever it can of the Polish history of Winona.  At times the leadership of the Polish Heritage Society has been divided over what to an “outsider” can only be labeled jealousy over territory, who is doing what to preserve the Polish heritage of Winona.

This phenomenon of antagonism between the two groups is displayed in occurrences in the community from time to time.  In 1982, when we arrived back, the parish was in need of an organist and choir director for its adult choir.  I soon found myself in that position and took great delight to be back in my home parish, organizing and leading the music for liturgy which had been so much a part of my world at St. Stanislaus as a child and young man growing up in the parish.  By Christmas 1983, the choir was strong enough that we were able to tackle some music of a more challenging character.  Of course, every Christmas had to include Polish Christmas Carols, too. The choir prepared the standard Christmas Carols in Polish and added some new music in English.  All went well until after the season was over.

Three people who still claimed St. Stanislaus as their home from time to time took the Pastor and me to task for not doing exclusively Polish music during the preliminary Christmas music before Mass.  At least one of these three has also taken issue with the leadership at the Polish Cultural Institute over ethnic celebratory occasions.  What it appears to be is that we have moved now into an era of nostalgia for some who wish to periodically return to St. Stanislaus and celebrate the past glories of the immigrant Parish.  This they do annually when the Polish Heritage Society organizes the annual weekend affair during which a meal of Polish dishes is served, someone is named to the Polish Hall of Fame and Mass is celebrated at St. Stanislaus with a choir singing Polish hymns exclusively.  Members of this choir come from all around the surrounding area and at one point the organist/director traveled from eastern Wisconsin for the occasion.  She has since made Winona her residence in retirement.

In the history of the parish, music has been a major part of the Polish cultural heritage.  In the mid-1940s a school band was organized, outfitted with the traditional band uniforms of the era in the Polish colors of red and white.  This was during the pastorate of Msgr. Grulkowski. Here, again, Sister Mary Edward was given the task of organizing and training the students from the Fifth grade through the Ninth grade.  The St. Stan’s Band marched in local parades and at the annual St. Paul Winter Carnival.  Today it is known that the band was funded largely by a retired school teacher, Miss Frances Milanowski, who also taught in the school for some years after her retirement from public school teaching.  This was a unique achievement for an elementary school and certainly for the Polish Catholic community of Winona who took great pride in the band.

The stately church building of St. Stanislaus stands proud yet today on the corner of Fourth and Carimona Streets in Winona.  Never quite free of disagreements among its membership, it is noted in one historical source that the Polish built beautiful and lavish churches “to humanize and sanctify the visible landscape.”  The source goes on to say After Vatican II, some misguided Catholic Church reformers sought to purge parishes of what they considered old-fashioned styles, and the intense Old World piety of Polish culture was high on their target list.  In Winona, the magnificent St. Stanislaus Kostka was gutted, its statues and pulpit sent to the trash heap.  Some courageous parishioners managed to save these items, created through such sacrifice by their parents and grandparents.  The church’s statues and pulpit panels remained in private hands until the 1990s when a more sympathetic pastor refurbished the church for its centennial.[16]

This description could only be written by a disgruntled Pole who did not agree with the changes made in the refurbishing of the building following a fire in 1966 when lightning struck the church dome and further accommodations to the reforms of Vatican II.  Many of the statues, it is true, are gone.  They were not great works of any intrinsic artistic nor monetary value. Some carrara marble was lost and that would have had value.  Beyond that, the church has been returned to earlier design, but even this is a debatable “improvement.”  I include this description because it is a good example of the squabbles still taking place in the Polish community of Winona.

Polish remains an integral part of the heritage of the city of Winona.  It is said that Winona has two things to be proud of that it hides. One of them is the Mississippi River.  Much of the waterfront is occupied by factory buildings, businesses, manufacturing and train tracks.  The other thing is its Polish heritage which today is celebrated at various times in the year, but always in an understated manner in the opinion of many who claim this ethnic heritage.  The only place today that the heritage is heard is in the Polish hymnody still being sung at St. Stanislaus Kostka.  Although fewer people know the history of this musical heritage, choir members of my generation strive to keep it going.  A recent recording of Polish hymns was made in an attempt to leave something that could be used by succeeding generations to learn something of the proper pronunciation of the language.

A few people from the generation before mine are still alive, but most have left this earth.  One gentleman, Clarence Maliszewski, now deceased, was a life long member of the choir.  Totally blind when I directed the choir, Clarence was still singing from memory the hymns he had lovingly sung for decades.  This gentle man learned new music by having it sung to him or recorded on tape for him to learn at home.  Walking to church early one morning, in the dark, he was struck by a car and did not live long after that.  He epitomizes the transition from a time when Polish was the language of the parish to a time when some see the Polish hymns as a quaint remembrance of the past.  It will be very interesting to come back in a generation and see what has happened.


[1] Jubilee Memories: 1873-1948, Saint Stanislaus Kostka Parish.

[2] Crozier, William L., Gathering A People: A History of the Diocese of Winona, Diocese of Winona 1989.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Jubilee Memories. The facts in this paragraph are from this source.

[5] Crozier, ibid, page 186.  Father Juszkiewicz is reported to have sued some parish members who refused to pay pew rent because he called them “empty heads.”

[6] Father Paul Breza, a son of the Parish, has made it his life work to organize and develop a building on the east side of Winona known as the Polish Cultural Institute. Father Breza and I are of the same generation although he is about 5 years older.  In a telephone interview I gathered a considerable amount of information that helped me to fill in the blanks in my own memory.

[7] Still, I would have been only 4 years old, but I have memories of sitting through Polish sermons occasionally and my guess is that they continued for certain occasions for at least several more years.

[8] Crozier, William L., “A People Apart: A Census Analysis of the Polish Community of Winona,Minnesota, 1880-1905” Polish American Studies, 1989.

[9] Quoted from Crozier, “A People Apart”.  Dr. Crozier notes the date of this issue as 11 February, 1886.  Derdowski, however, became a source of conflict in the Winona Polish community.  Much of this conflict according to sources in Crozier, Gathering a People: A History of the Diocese of Winona was over ethnicity and religion.  See this book for more details about this conflict.

[10] Msgr. Roy Literski, pastor in the 1970s until 1983, tells me such dispensation was never given and that this practice was simply done as it was.

[11] Msgr. Roy Literski, pastor, told me he found this requirement in parish records and letters sent to the Motherhouse of the School Sisters of Notre Dame in Mankato,Minnesota over the years.

[12] Msgr. Literski recalls sitting on the porch of the convent when he was an associate pastor at St. Stanislaus in the 1950s, learning Polish colloquialisms with Sister in order that he could hear Polish confessions.  He was called upon to do this not only at St. Stanislaus, but across the river into Wisconsin where there were other Polish settlements.

[13] Ben is my source for this title and translation.

[14] Father Breza’s sister, Mary Ann Morrisey, also a life long member of St. Stanislaus Kostka parish speaks of the suffering of a people that is heard in this music.  Of course, not all the music is sad and much of it is spirited, but it does have a unique flavor.

[15] Jubilee Memories

[16] Radzilowski, John, Poles in Minnesota, St. Paul,Minnesota: Minnesota Historical Society Press, 2005, page 29.