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Click Here to view WGN's news coverage of the anniversary Mass.

On April 23, St. Stanislaus Kostka Church in Chicago celebrated its 150th Anniversary. Over 1,500 people attended a special anniversary Mass and celebration led by Cardinal Blase Cupich. The historic church was decorated with red and white ornaments as celebrants representing both the Polish and Hispanic communities marched in. During the procession, parishioners carried banners in and wore uniforms representing their culture and communities. Parishioners then prayed and sang in Polish, Spanish and English during the anniversary Mass.

St. Stanislaus Kostka Church

St. Stanislaus Kostka parish began in 1867 in Chicago and the Resurrection Fathers were placed in charge of it in 1871 to minister to the large growing Polish immigrant population who were settling into the city. The cornerstone of the church was laid in 1877 and the church was officially dedicated in 1881. By 1897, St. Stanislaus Kostka parish was the largest Catholic parish in the United States with over 8,000 families and nearly 40,000 total parishioners. There were 12 Masses every Sunday to accommodate everyone.

The Franciscan Sisters of Chicago Connection

The Franciscan Sisters of Chicago have a long history connected to St. Stanislaus Kostka Church. The Third Order of St. Francis for women was founded in the parish in 1886 and it was here where Polish immigrant Josephine Dudzik joined them and became one of their first members. Josephine and her family had emigrated to the United States in 1881 and had joined the St. Stanislaus Kostka parish. After Josephine's father passed away Josephine began taking the needy and the abandoned into her home. Josephine realized she would need more room and more help.

Rev. Vincent Michael Barzynski (Founder of the Resurrectionist Missions in Chicago) was Josephine Dudzik's spiritual director at the church. Josephine approached him for consent to care for the needy in a home to be built with other women from the parish. He would not give his approval unless the women agreed to take on the Rule of a religious congregation. Therefore they were to take vows of poverty, chastity and obedience and the wearing of a religious habit. Josephine invited members of the Third Order of St. Francis to join her in a life of prayer and service to the poor, aged, and disabled. She then established a new congregation called the Franciscan Sisters of Blessed Kunegunda in 1894 (the Franciscan Sisters of Chicago's original name) and chose the name Sister Mary Theresa Dudzik (later she was officially recognized as their foundress and is now known as Mother Mary Theresa Dudzik).

St. Stanislaus Kostka Chuch Honors Mother Mary Theresa Dudzik

St. Stanislaus Kostka Church honored Mother Mary Theresa with a brand new sculpture of her placed in the church. The sculpture was designed by sculptor and artist Stefan Niedorezo. Mr. Nidorezo had also sculpted another Mother Mary Theresa Dudzik sculpture that currently resides in the Administration building in the Franciscan Sisters of Chicago offices (and is also on their Spiritual Enrollment cards). During the celebration Cardinal Cupich blessed the new sculpture and bouquets of roses were placed at her feet.

Blessing of the Statue of Venerable Mother Mary Theresa Dudzik

Lord, we bless you for you alone are holy,
and because in your compassion for sinners
you sent into the world your Son, Jesus Christ,
the author and perfecter of holiness.

He sent the Spirit
to sustain his newborn Church,
a voice that teaches us the secrets of holiness,
a breeze that strengthens and refreshes,
a fire that sears our hearts in love,
the seed of God that yields a harvest of grace.

Today we praise you
for the gifts of the Spirit bestowed on Venerable
Mother Mary Theresa Dudzik,
in whose honor, we dedicate this statue.

May we follow in the footsteps of the Lord,
keeping before us the example of Venerable
Mother Mary Theresa,
and grow to maturity
measured not by nature, but by the fullness of Christ.

May we proclaim his Gospel by word and deed
and, shouldering our crosses daily,
expend ourselves for others in your service.

As we carry out our earthly duties,
May we be filled with the Spirit of Christ
and keep our eyes fixed on the glories of heaven,
where you, Father, receive those who will reign
with your Son, For ever and ever.