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History of St. Stanislaus Kostka Church, Anderson

by Diocese of Galveston Houston on June 2, 2007

in History

St. Stanislaus Catholic Church, Anderson, TexasWhen the present St. Stanislaus Church, Anderson, was completed in 1917. it became the first brick Catholic edifice in Grimes County. On August 6, 1918, Monsignor James M. Kirwin, vicar general and administrator of the Diocese of Galveston dedicated the present church. At the time of the dedication of St. Stanislaus Church, the parish family included 168 families of Polish descent and one family of German descent. Today, the parish family totals 268 families.

Such was not the case, however, in 1871, when a few Polish families migrated from (German) Poland to Anderson in southeast Grimes County, 82 miles northwest of Houston and 16 miles southeast of Plantersville. Records are not available to confirm how many families were in this migratory event; however, as tradition goes there were supposedly about 30 families.

The first Polish immigrants to Grimes County were very poor, and the greatest disadvantage was their lack of any knowledge of the English language and being scattered over Grimes County.


Notwithstanding being poor and not having knowledge of English, they possessed the most essential thing, that is, the practical Catholic faith, which moved their consciences to participate in Mass, offered by Father Mosiewics.

One year later, in 1872, Father Orzechowski frequently offered Mass in the home of Michael Laskowski. The following year, the 30 families made a resolution to erect some kind of building so Mass could be celebrated in Anderson. They succeeded on their efforts. In the same year of 1873, they bought a public school building and three-and-one-half acres of land, located three-fourths of a mile south of Anderson. The building was converted into a church, which was attended once a month by Father Felix Orzechowski, who came from St. Joseph’s Mission, New Waverly, until July 16, 1882.

After Father Felix, as he was commonly called. Father C. Polyanski of New York City, arrived in 1883 in Anderson to take care of the spiritual needs of the faithful. A year later, he returned to his native state. He was succeeded by Father Adam Laski.

Father Laski, as oral tradition goes, was a very zealous priest, kept strict discipline and accomplished many things, especially in spiritual work. He left for (Russian) Poland. where he started his zealous spiritual work; being hated by Russians, as every Catholic priest is, he was put into prison, where he died a martyr. His stay in Anderson was from 1888 to 1890. The history of the parish from 1883 to 1888 could not be traced.

In 1890, Father Laski, as the first resident priest, was succeeded by Father J. Chalcarz, who came to Anderson from Poland (Galicia) where he was appointed as a second resident priest at St. Stanislaus Church. He left for Poland in 1892.

The following year, Father A. Sulek came from Poland (Galicia) and was appointed as third resident priest of St. Stanislaus Church. He served until 1895 and returned to Poland.

Father J. Klein of St. Mary’s Church, Plantersville, offered Mass in St. Stanislaus Church from 1895 through 1897. In the same year, Father F.X. Pruss took charge of St. Stanislaus. From the beginning, he accomplished good work. He built a 40-by-60-foot church, and the old public school was staffed by a lay teacher, and attendance was small. The state paid the teacher’s salary. Father Pruss’ tenure ended in 1903, and the school was discontinued.

In 1904, Father Peter Litwora was appointed pastor of St. Stanislaus Church. From the beginning, when he was in excellent health, he was doing good work, but his tenure did not last long.

Citizens of Anderson experienced several dry summers when water became very scarce. “Parish people tried to dig a well in many places, but without success. But a few months later they commenced again to seek for water, and, at last, they found, near a graveyard, a little spring of water, When they fixed up a well, Father Litwora, having no other well, was compelled to use the water out of this well, which was connected with the cemetery. Of course, drinking such water, a person naturally becomes sick, and that is what happened to Father Litwora. He became seriously ill and was compelled to leave Anderson and be hospitalized in St. Joseph’s Hospital, Houston” the historian recorded.

After the absence of Father Litwora from St. Stanislaus, Father C. H. Weiznerowski attended once or twice a month  for two months until Father Marcus Antioius Dombrowski was appointed pastor of St. Stanislaus in 1912.

Father Dombrowski excelled in spiritual works. He immediately learned about Father Litwora’s plight and, in turn, he dug a deep well where he struck the best water in Grimes County. He also attempted to remodel the old frame church.

In 1916, Father Dombrowski was succeeded by Father N. T. Domanski. Bishop Nicholas A. Gallager immediately insisted that Father Domanski establish a parochial school, but the pastor found great obstacles in his path.

Father Domanski also noted that the old frame church was too small for the parish family and structure had deteriorated. So, on September 10, 1916, he proposed the erection of a new church to the faithful and, within a year, the present edifice was completed.

When the present church was under construction, County Judge Thomas Buffington donated 120 loads of crushed rocks for the foundation of the new church. Rock Berger contributed $110 for stations of the Cross, and others contributed small offerings.

The parochial school, proposed by Bishop Gallagher in 1916, never became a reality for three reasons: Members of the parish family were scattered in three different localities, seven to eleven miles form the school; low economy for three years before the 1920s; and some members of the parish family were nonchalant about education for their children.

Pastors over the past 10 years included Father T. W. Kappe, Father F. J. Klass, Father William J. Kennelly, Father Robert Gradel and Father Bernard J. O’Neill.

The parish annals noted that Antonio Walda, baptized, June 6, 1876, was the first person to receive this sacrament. The first parish marriage was the exchange of vows between Joseph Gutowski and Miss Francis L. Ignasiak.

 

 

 

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