Northern Illinois University Press

Polish Catholics in Chicago, 1850–1920

A Religious History

Joseph John Parot

Winner of the Halecki Award for the best book on Polish immigration

“Parot’s temperately told, sympathetic account weaves together two stories that profoundly influenced the immigrant experience in Chicago Polonia. The first describes how Polish ethnicity became inextricably linked to the Roman Catholic faith. The second sadly recounts how internecine strife within Polonia and within Polonia’s church permanently rent Chicago’s Polish community during the mass migration years.” American Historical Review

“Parot’s recounting of the religious history of Chicago’s Polish Catholics in their formative period is a well-documented account of rural immigrant adaptation and community self organization in urban, industrial America.” Urban History Review

The religious and ethnic identity of Polish immigrants to the Chicago metropolitan area was shaped by the historical events surrounding their early settlement and the development of parishes. The emerging Polish community in 1850 faced a basic dilemma: were the parishioners to develop their life in the new country as Polish Catholics or as Catholic Poles? Many of the immigrants came directly to Chicago by train after disembarking from boats from Poland. There they settled in St. Stanislaus Kostka and Holy Trinity parishes—the parishes that were the heart of Chicago Polonia as it grew to be not only the largest white ethnic settlement in Chicago, but also the largest Catholic ethnic group in the archdiocese of Chicago. Here the formative events took place: the coming of the Resurrectionists, the rise of the Polish National Church, and the establishment of a Bishop in Polonia. In the background was the constant problem of Americanization.

Polish Catholics in Chicago, 1850–1920 is the first thorough account of the religious origins of Chicago’s Polish community. Parot has constructed a detailed and penetrating history of the formation of one of America’s greatest ethnic communities. The study begins with the stormy foundation of the Resurrectionist community-parishes, discusses in detail the development of one of the most serious religious schisms in American Catholic church history, and climaxes with the dramatic conflict between the Polish clergy in Chicago, American Polonia, and the American Catholic hierarchy.

(1981) 316 pp.
ISBN: 978-0-87580-527-6
paper $22.00

Joseph John Parot is professor emeritus and former head of the Social Science Department at the Northern Illinois University Libraries. He also jointly taught in the NIU History Department. A specialist in ethnic and religious history, he has published numerous articles on immigrants in Chicago.

Table of Contents

1 Catholicism and the Partitions: From Ojczyzna to Nowy wiat
2 Intragroup Conflict: Polish Catholics and Catholic Poles
3 The Coming of the Resurrectionists
4 The Barzynski Era: From Strife to Schism
5 A Dark Passage: The Chicago Independents and the Rise of the Polish National Catholic Church
6 A Bishop for Polonia
7 The War for Poland: The Americanization of Polonia
8 Mundelein and Polonia: The War for Ethnic Survival
9 Polonia's Religious Origins: The Search for Meaning
Bibliographical Note

Shopping Cart Operations

ISBN: 978-0-87580-527-6
paper $22.00