St. Stanislaus Kostka in Chicago

St. Stanislaus Kostka in Chicago, referred to in Polish as 'Kościół Świętego Stanisława Kostki' is a historic church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago located in, Chicago, Illinois. St. Stanislaus Kostka is the 'mother church' of all other Polish churches in the Archdiocese of Chicago. It is a prime example of the so-called 'Polish Cathedral style' of churches in both its opulence and grand scale. Along with St. Hyacinth Basilica, St. Mary of the Angels, and St. Hedwig's it is one of the many monumental Polish churches visible from the Kennedy Expressway.


Founded in 1867 as the first Polish parish in Chicago. The Resurrectionist Order has administered the Parish since 1869, and they founded many other North Side Polish parishes from St. Stanislaus. The original church building survived the Great Chicago Fire but was demolished to make way for the present church. At the end of the 19th century it was one of the largest parishes not only in the city but in the whole country with over 35,000 parishioners in 1908. The church was slated to be demolished to make room for the construction of the Kennedy Expressway, but thanks to intense efforts by Chicago's Polonia in the late 1950s, the planned right of way was shifted east to avoid demolishing St. Stanislaus 's parish buildings. The parish remained predominately Polish through most of the 20th century, but since the 1970s it has also had a significant number of Latino parishioners. Mass is now celebrated in English, Polish and Spanish.


The church was designed by Patrick Keely of Brooklyn, the same architect who built Holy Name Cathedral and was completed in 1881. Its Renaissance style recalls the glory days of the Polish Commonwealth in the 15th and 16th centuries. Its interior is 200 feet long and 80 feet wide with seating for 1500. The painting over the altar by Thaddeus von Zukotynski depicts Our Lady placing the infant Jesus in the arms of St. Stanislaus Kostka. Zukotynski, who came to Chicago in 1888, was considered one of Europe's foremost painters of religious subjects. Other artistic treasures in the church include the Stained glass windows by F.X. Zettler of the Royal Bavarian Institute in Munich and the chandeliers in the nave by the studios of Louis Tiffany. The southern cupola was destroyed by lightning in 1964, and the northern cupola was rebuilt with a more simplified profile in 2002.

In addition to the church, the two-block physical plant of the Saint Stanislaus Kostka parish complex contained a large hall for performances, a convent and rectory, a gymnasium and a two year commercial school for girls, staffed by the School Sisters of Notre Dame. In 1906, a fire destroyed the school, convent as well as an auditorium that was under construction. Two years later, the school had been rebuilt with 54 classrooms, three meeting halls, making it the larget elementary school in all of the United States when it opened in 1908.

St Stanislaus Kostka is also the future home of the planned Sanctuary of The Divine Mercy. The sanctuary will have an adoration chapel and outdoor prayer garden enclosed by a surrounding wall of stone to help define the space as sacred. Within the enclosure there will be no liturgies or vocal prayers, either by individuals or groups. The space is strictly meant for private meditation and contemplation. Various religious iconography will be found in the Sanctuary of The Divine Mercy. At the heart of the chapel will be the Iconic Monstrance of Our Lady of the Sign which will be the focus of 24-hour Eucharistic Adoration.

St. Stanislaus Kostka in architecture books

St. Stanislaus Kostka is featured in a number of books on Chicago architecture, notably "The AIA Guide to Chicago" by Alice Sinkevitch (Harvest Books 2004), as well as "Chicago's Famous Buildings" by Franz Schulze and Kevin Harrington (University Of Chicago Press 2003). St. Stanislaus Kostka is also in a number of books devoted to church architecture, among them "Houses of Worship: An Identification Guide to the History and Styles of American religious Architecture", by Jeffery Howe (Thunder Bay Press, 2003), "Chicago Churches: A Photographic Essay" by Elizabeth Johnson (Uppercase Books Inc, 1999), "Heavenly City: The Architectural Tradition of Catholic Chicago" by Denis R. McNamara (Liturgy Training Publications 2005), "The Archdiocese of Chicago: A Journey of Faith" by Edward R. Kantowicz (Booklink 2007), "The Spiritual Traveler: Chicago and Illinois: A Guide to Sacred Sites and Peaceful Places" by Marylin Chiat (HiddenSpring 2004), "Chicago Churches and Synagogues: An Architectural Pilgrimage" by George A. Lane (Loyola Press 1982), as well as the Polish language book "Kościoły Polskie w Chicago" {Polish Churches of Chicago} by Jacek Kociolek (Ex Libris 2002).

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