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St. Joseph Parish - Gardner MA

A short history from the 1933 Jubilee Book

Extracts from the History of Worcester County, Massachusetts
Edited by Ellery Bicknell Crane, From Volume III, 1924.

Rev. Stanislaus Joseph Chlapowski

The life of Father Chlapowski has been so closely interwoven with the history of the city of Gardner in recent years that is peculiarly fitting to inscribe the record of his work in the permanent annals of Worcester County. His broad vision of life and his utter surrender of himself to the service of God and humanity form a chapter of deep interest to the people. A native of Poland, Father Chlapowski is a son of Joseph and Elizabeth (Rydlewicz) Chlapowski, who came to the United States in the middle eighties, locating in Webster, Massachusetts. They are still in that community, the father having been active as a farmer for many years.

Rev. Stanislaus Joseph Chlapowski was born in Poland August 21, 1883, and was only a little child when he came with his parents to Webster, Massachusetts. He received his early education in the parochial schools of Webster, attending evening school as well as day sessions, then later entered SS Cyrillous and Methodius College and Seminary, at Detroit, Michigan, where he covered five years, classical course, graduating Magna Cum Laude in 1908. Later going to Montreal, Quebec, Canada, he spent two years in the study of Philosophy, then entered the Grand Seminary, where in three years and a half he completed his theological studies. On December 20, 1913, he was ordained to the holy priesthood at St. James' Cathedral, in Montreal, by the Rt. Rev. Archbishop Paul Bruchesi, D. D. Following his ordination Father Chlapowski returned to Webster, Massachusetts, where he assisted in the service of St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Church for about three months. He was then appointed to the Three Rivers (Palmer, Massachusetts) Church as assistant priest, and served for about eight months, after which he was appointed pastor of St. Joseph's Church, of Gardner. He took up his duties here on November 22, 1914, and has led his people forward through the trying years which have since intervened, winning their sincere affection by his self-sacrifice and devotion. Father Chlapowski had not only revealed himself as a highly exemplary spiritual leader of his flock, but has lived before the world such a truly Christ-like life that all who know him have learned to love and revere him. During the ravages of influenza epidemic which he has gone down in history as unexampled before or since, he ministered to whatever need he found, no matter what that need might be. In homely but heartfelt eulogy it was said of him at that time:

Father Chlapowski rolled up his sleeves and went to work among those stricken with the disease. He stayed at the bedside of those who had no one to look after them, he built fires, buying coal where there was no fuel, he bought supplies where there was no food, and ministered to the afflicted irrespective of religion, race or creed. His services reached the heroic stage.

It was said by those who were in closest touch with his work at this fearful time, when the plague claimed its victims by the hundreds, that for six weeks or more Father Chlapowski never took any relief, snatching a few moments of sleep only as he had opportunity. When he was able to leave one patient he sought others, questioning only their need, nothing else. Wherever he could find a sick and suffering human being there hedid all that could be done, leaving only to seek further opportunities of service.No wonder that in Gardner he is "the priest whom everybody loves." In all the wartime activities he was the leader. He organized a Polish war chest, and carried his church "over the top" in every Liberty Loan and Red Cross drive, selling among his people from $25,000 to $30,000 in every drive inaugurated by the United States Government. Whenever there was any war organization work to do he took a leading part in it.

St. Joseph's Church had grown and prospered much under Father Chlapowski's pastorate. The congregation now numbers more than 1,100 souls, and he is leading them ever to higher spiritual attainments as well as material prosperity as a church body. He has redecorated the church and had otherwise beautified and improved the church property. He is active also in all branches of civic endeavor, is a member of the board
of directors of the Gardner Chamber of Commerce, is a member of Gardner Council, No. 396, Knights of Columbus, and is a director of the Community Girls' Club. He takes a sincere pride in the growth and dignity of the new city administration and is a member of the memorial building committee, which has in charge the erection of a new city hail. Father Chlapowski is a broad-gauged man in the highest sense of the term, and numbers among his friends and admirers the best people of the community without regard to theological differences or any barriers of creed. Still a young man, a life of great and ever increasing usefulness unquestionably lies before him.

Komitet Jubileuszu Parafji Sw. Jozefa

Ks. Staniskaw J. Chlapowski, Proboszcz Przewodniczacy

Tymoteusz Dabrowski-Sekretarz

Ks. Maksym Lewandowski Barbara Adamczyk
Antoni Cwalina II Melanja Gabis
Franciszek Pocki Melanja Petrewicz
Antoni Michniewicz Hendryka Cwalina
Jan Michniewicz Bernarda Poliks
Wiadyslaw Stasikielis Jadwiga Luczko
Mecenas Jozef Harasimowicz Helena Pieronek
Ignacy Okupniak Aleksandra Rembiszewska
Stanisaw Wiski Stefan Graczkowskj
Aleksander Pacocha Jozef Poliks
Wiktor Bednarczyk Boleslaw Poliks
Janina Poliks  

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