Saturday, October 2, 2010

The History of the Parish of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Part 3

Continued from The History of the Parish of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Part 2

Walking by now to the second section of parish work, we see that soon after the completion of the combined building, and fairly after the summer holidays, in September of 1913, with the efforts of the Reverend Pastor, Sister Felicia deigned to accept the school and take care of the education of the children in the school. The teachings began in September, when 343 children enrolled in the school. In the first year there were only 5 sisters teaching with Sister M. Maryna as the superior, and these sisters lead seven grades of classes. Because the number of students significantly increased the next year, eight levels of classes were added and the number of sisters was doubled. Not until the year 1915 did our school distribute the first graduations from the eight classes in number six. Year after year, the number of students attending classes increased and, in proportion, there was a increase in the number of sisters teaching.

The Felician Sisters, well known everywhere in the educational domain in elementary schools wherever Poles are found, from their conscientiousness, inculcating in young hearts a knowledge of the holy faith and the development of mental attitudes in secular education, and with persistence in keeping their language and their souls Polish. If after so many years still today they hear the Polish language and see the Polish soul, in the first place, we must credit our righteous Felician Sisters. It's no wonder that our compatriots, despite all efforts from the side of the dissenters, desiring all possible ways to us of the true faith, they still stand strongly before the Church of Christ. Like the priest in the pulpit, the Sisters in the school work with all their might to maintain this Holy Faith.

The parish school in which, except for subjects clearly secular, is also the religion instruction, it is truly the anchor of the church. As long as our school was overcrowded with children, we could be secure that Poles would not lose the faith of their fathers, and that the Polish spirit would not disappear. The maintenance of the parish school required a huge donation from the Catholic community, because not only did they support the parish school with their offerings, but, through taxes, were also obliged to support the public schools, from which they received no benefit. Our parish schools, in spite of this, taught Polish and Religion, stood even higher in secular subjects than the public schools. This happened repeatedly but almost always, that the children after completion of the eighth grade in the parish school, not having the opportunity to study in comparative Catholic schools, out of necessity succeed in further study in comparative public schools, they led the way in all subjects.

Year after year, the school of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary grew splendidly. The best developments were the following figures. In 1913 at the beginning there were only 343 students and five Sisters teaching, and there were only 6 graduates in June 1915. Today, in 1937, we have more than 1100 students and 18 Sisters teaching, and our school annually produces around 115 graduates from the eighth grade.

After the completion of the combined building, the church, school, and apartments for the Sisters, Father Konstanty Dziuk, who up until now, as mentioned above, lived in a house rented from Mr. Piotr Maciejewski on 28th Street, from where he conducted all his work, immediately began to work on the rectory building on the parish grounds. He began this work at the end of 1913, and after six months, that is in March 1914, was complete, at a cost of $17,084.74. The next stage of construction happened in 1917. Now, it turned out that from the guidelines, the parish was still expanding. In the course of time, it was perceived that, in the school as well as in the church, there was not enough space in order to house everything. There was only one way out of this situation; it was immediately necessary to add to the existing building a middle school and church.

From "Silver Jubilee Souvenir Booklet of the Church of the Assumption 1912-1937", Detroit, Michigan. Translation from Polish to English by Stephen Danko, 2007.

To Be Continued...

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