Dziennik Chicagoski -- January 02, 1894The Year of 1893 (Annual Report) (Editorial)
The year of 1893 has ended--it belongs to the past and we are already looking at its successor's countenance. At such a momentous time--the turning point in our lives that brings us a step nearer to the gate of eternity, the goal for which Providence created us--it is advisable to turn away for a moment from our daily pursuits, our ideals, and examine our past in order to draw inferences for the future. The blunders of the past, if we are able to detect and understand them, will serve us as a lesson for the future. Past failures will incite us to new efforts in the future; our past accomplishments will show us what is yet to be done.2
An analysis of the past, as undertaken by us here, is necessary and beneficial, especially in our circumstances, since it concerns our young and still restless generation that seeks to adapt itself to conditions in America.
Since we are starting the new year in the name of God, [a discussion of] the Church is most important. If we agree that we Poles in America constitute more or less a community within a community, that besides the usual social obligations we have in common with the people of the United States, we also have a special aim peculiar to ourselves--that is, to protect our Holy Faith and nationality, and to work in the interest of our motherland--then we must admit that the Polish churches and parishes serve as an axis around which revolve national, religious, and moral life.
Our churches and parishes are called strongholds of faith and nationalism and, indeed, they deserve this name. The character of our very religious people is such that, wherever they are gathered in large numbers, they 3feel the necessity of praying together and in their native tongue to the Lord of Heaven. It is for this reason that they build Polish churches and live near then, each nucleus establishing its own Polish school. Under the leadership of intelligent priests, activity and thought are awakened. After this awakening, there follows a tedious ant-like nationalistic work--a work intended to build up Poles out of the raw material that came from Europe.
Catholic churches and parishes are the foundation of Polish social life in America. The growth of the Polish churches in the United States has been quite noticeable despite the fact that the inflow of Polish immigrants has been small on account of restrictions and unfavorable [economic] conditions.
Many Polish parishes have been established and many Polish churches have been built or are under construction (in Chicago, Buffalo, Milwaukee). The number of Polish priests has increased considerably too, for many of 4them have immigrated to America and others have been ordained right here. According to the last census, there are 230 Polish priests in America. Many missions and special church services have been held in Polish parishes. Schools have been established; work, both in the nationalistic and welfare fields, has been undertaken.
In other words, the Polish Roman Catholic Church has been growing, being in reality a torch guiding the traveler and a shelter giving comfort to the exiled. It would be difficult to convince us that we should not continue to work for the success of the Church. On the other hand, those who try to undermine our Church harbor an ominous design against the essence of our national, religious, and social life. To be exact, we will state that the history of the development of the Polish Catholic Church in America is not without a dark passage here and there. Such is the world. There have been sharp disturbances in Polish parishes (in Winona, Baltimore, Philadelphia) now and then--disturbances which have brought disgrace to our nationality. Once an attempt was made to dynamite a Polish rectory in Pennsylvania. In 5Detroit, the apostate Kolasinski--a former Roman Catholic priest who is still misleading a few thousands of stupefied Poles--staged a disgraceful comedy on Christmas Day, when his "self-made church" was consecrated by a swindler posing as an archbishop. These are indeed very sad symptoms [of discord], but this is no time for discussing them. It will be sufficient for the time being to condemn saverely the instigators of these dissensions, whose purpose is to create a source of discord and dishonesty. At any rate, these dark symptoms of discord are outweighed by the large bright field on which they appear, since the main and largest Polish settlements in America enjoy peace and live according to God's will, and since the last year brought about the reconciliation with the Church of one old Polish parish which had been tossed aside by the internal storm. This was accomplished by understanding and Christian love. Let us hope that this same understanding and Christian love will subdue in the future such storms as we had last year by bringing the guilty ones to reason.
Next are the schools. Here in America by schools we mean the parochial 6schools, which, together with the churches, complete the Polish parishes. According to Church statistics, we have more than 170 Polish parishes in America. The number of parochial schools is approximately 120, if not more. According to last year's reports, several Polish schools were established in 1892. Some of these schools are not very imposing. They are not yet finished for lack of funds, since the memberships of the parishes that maintain them are still too small. All in all, if we take into consideration that these schools are maintained by our hard-working people, the majority of whom live in poverty, let alone that quite often they have been opposed in their undertaking by the Republicans, we will come to the conclusion that we have accomplished a great deal.
From forty to fifty thousand children receive education at these schools. These children study not only Polish but also English. Incidentally, we should add that some of the Polish schools, especially those in large Polish settlements, operate under standards high enough to enable them to compete with public schools. We may take for example the Polish schools 7in Chicago, Milwaukee, Buffalo, Detroit, and other cities. That Polish schools have a high standard of teaching can be proved by the two awards given them by the Chicago Fair for their work. So much for the elementary schools.
As to high schools, we have only a small number of them. Our Polish theological seminary in Detroit, Michigan, due to lack of funds, is conducted on a small scale; consequently, it cannot compete with liberally endowed American institutions despite the sacrifices of the faculty. Today the future outlook of this institution looks much better, for at the Polish Clergymen's Convention held in Detroit last December, the decision was made to incorporate and support this institution. This decision is praiseworthy.
The two Polish parochial high schools--one in Chicago and the other in Milwaukee, Wisconsin--are maintained privately, and its supporters deserve great credit. Reverend Pitass has promised to open a teachers' training 8school in Buffalo, New York, and we are waiting eagerly for this accomplishment. We also have a business college in Manitowoc, Wisconsin, conducted by the Felician Sisters, and it is a success. Here in Chicago, as the Convention of the Polish Roman Catholic Union, the Polish teachers formed an association, the object of which is to foster education, to provide mutual aid, and to arrange teachers' conventions. Our teachers are greatly interested in the Lwow Fair, which will take place at Lwow, Poland (Austrian occupation), in 1894. We wish to point out that the majority of parochial school teachers are women. Our schools are directed and taught by Nazarene, Felician, Notre Dame, and Franciscan Sisters, who deserve great credit for their work.
The foregoing statements prove that there is great activity, development, and progress in the field of education among the Poles. However, we still need and desire to have more high schools.
School attendance alone is not the last word in education. Reading popular literature and attending popular lectures are also necessary. These are 9mediums whereby the people can be enlightened and uplifted. Our people are becoming more and more interested in literature; the young people, as well as the old, like to read.
The newspapers also help spread enlightenment and develop social life, providing they do not become too controversial and engage in scandalous quarrels or cater to the lower desires of the public.
The past year was successful in educational activities. New libraries were established here and there, and old ones were enlarged by the purchase of hundreds of new books. The libraries of Saint Stanislaus Kostka, the Polish National Alliance, Saint Hyacinth, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, as well as the Polish Reading Room in Buffalo, New York, and others, have grown to large proportions. There are from thirty to forty Polish libraries, large and small, in the United States. Here and there a public library has a Polish section. From time to time public lectures were held. Attempts were made on several occasions to organize a Polish educational association to serve as our Polish Alma Mater. Publication of popular literature 10was also considered, and this resulted in the publication of a number of pamphlets. Although it is quite true that these publications consist of reprints and schoolbooks, yet there was some development even along this line. The most important step was the plan to organize a Polish Educational Association which would be impartial and always ready to work for the good of the public.
As to the press, it has other functions besides the ones already mentioned. Let us devote a few words to these functions. We must admit that despite all its defects, the Polish American press has fulfilled its purpose. Whenever a good plan was suggested, our press supported it with all its might; whenever public welfare was concerned, it put aside its own interests to attend to it. It opposed the bad and supported the good. However, there were exceptions. Ephemeral publications sprang up now and then, here and there, before and after election. There were itinerant editors, traveling from city to city, living off the fat of the land. We saw in their ranks open and secret anarchists declaring war against the Cross, but the Polish 11press as a whole was healthy; it cared for the welfare of the public, for which it deserves honor. The standard of many Polish journals has improved. Of special interest is the change in the editorial staff of the Polish National Alliance's organ, which, after four years of poor management, was placed in the hands of an honest man. Let us follow this road and, with God's help, we will benefit our countrymen. We will sow good seed and reap a rich harvest.
As to our organizations, they are another important factor in our life. In a country as large as the United States, organizational activity is absolutely necessary. Here the associations care for things which in other countries are looked after by the government. Organizations and associations unite those who have the same social, political, and religious ideas and those who share in common the same needs and trades. Organizations help them accomplish their ideals and protect them against their enemies. And so it is with us. We organized thousands of small societies for this purpose, societies which later merged into large organizations.12
We have four such organizations--large and small. The Polish Roman Catholic Union, under the protection of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and the Polish National Alliance lead numerically. The Union is progressing rapidly. The Roman Catholic Union, under the protection of the Holy Virgin of Czestochowa, is an independent organization. These organizations were not necessarily created to serve different purposes, yet it is not always that they have worked together for the common good. As a matter of fact, they have often fought amongst themselves. We do not wish to express our opinion as to who is right or wrong--what we wish is to avoid further friction. In fact, we are happy to point out that these antagonisms, fights, and storms have subsided. This abatement of the struggle happened in 1893, during the conventions held that year by our most important societies. Instead of discords and storms, these conventions brought us peace and unselfish community work. Dissension, which was the slogan at least for one side, has ceased. At last we have harmony and satisfaction--we were benefited.
Finally, to top it all, there came the beautiful, magnificent, and wonderful 13Polish Day, a day which is still remembered by all of us. An extraordinary thing occurred then. We American citizens marched under American and Polish banners as Poles, in behalf of Poland and for Poland. We marched side by side--we members of different camps, factions, organizations, and societies--with our hands outstretched and sympathy in our hearts, even though the day before we had been enemies. We have learned to march in the same rank. Pax Dei! Poles have God's peace in America. Let this peace last not only throughout the new year of 1894 but forever.
Out of this peace, on account of this good inspiration, many good, great, and beautiful things have been accomplished. More will come. Out of the ashes, like the Phoenix, the Polish Immigration House was resurrected. The problem of the Polish seminary was finally solved in the spirit of brotherly love. A very energetic effort was made to send representatives to the Kosciusko Fair, which will be held at Lwow in 1894. Plans were made to prepare lectures relative to the condition and history of the Polish settlements in America. A move was made for closer solidarity between the Poles 14and our historical neighbors, the Lithuanians, and our consanguineous people, the Ruthenians and Slovaks. A plan was made--and it was partly carried out--to organize military, athletic, and other societies. A suggestion was made to organize a Polish League and to hold a Polish mass meeting. These are projects just started but not yet finished. However, we believe that the first steps have been taken, and that the Lord will give us enough strength to go ahead until these things are successfully completed.
A very encouraging sign was the establishment of relations with our mother country. These relations began with the mission of Mr. Dunikowski, and although this mission failed in part, there is still hope. The Chicago Fair contributed greatly in this respect. Some of the visitors from Poland who came to see the Fair did not judge us fairly--that is true, but many of them made their acquaintance with the American Poles and appreciated us. Mr. Dunikowski's book about us, although not true and just in every respect, brought us closer to Poland. In Przeglad Emigracyjny (Emigrants' Review), 15published in Lwow, Poland, we have a faithful friend and defender who is very well acquainted with our affairs. The last legal congress held in Poznan was greatly interested in the problem of emigration, and our pavilion at the Lwow Fair will accomplish the rest. With less sarcasm and undue criticism between the Polish element in the United States and the European Poles, a noble aim, a friendly relation will be effected between our motherland and the American Poles.
We have mentioned the Chicago Fair. Even this exposition, despite the unfavorable circumstances, contributed to some extent towards raising the Polish name. The Polish Art exhibit, which we inaugurated so ostentatiously, contained many masterpieces by Polish artists. These masterpieces were greatly admired by people of other nationalities, evoking great enthusiasm among our countrymen. A number of these paintings received high awards.
As a result of the Fair, we participated in educational congresses. Visitors from Poland participated in artists', singers', anthropologists', and other congresses. Mr. Zmigrodzki delivered a very interesting 16lecture on art. Madame Modrzejewska, in behalf of the Polish women, spoke about oppressed Poland. Polish choirs sang our national songs. To the Catholic Congress we presented an English pamphlet on suitable subjects. In other words, even here we tried to do what was possible.
We worked in every field. We protested very vigorously against the American Extradition Treaty with Russia, but in vain. An effort to erect Kosciusko's monument in Chicago was made. We collected eighteen thousand dollars for this purpose. We held a competition for a design of Kosciusko's monument and received four models of high artistic value. One of these models, a design submitted by Mr. Baracz, will probably be executed. When? It is very hard to predict. Hard times are not in favor of this undertaking this year. Instead of that, we will build a Polish hospital in Chicago, and this will be accomplished. A suggestion was made to establish a colony outside of the city for the poor Chicago Poles. We even succeeded in founding a literary competition for Polish-American authors. We will not mention here many small undertakings that came to a successful conclusion during the 17year just ended.
Although the last year was abundant in achievements, national and social, it had one defect--it was not prosperous. During the second part of the year there was a financial panic which was hard on the working people--many of whom suffered hunger and privation. This encouraged crime. But, even in this respect, our countrymen succeeded in avoiding the worst, and our more wealthy people, led by the clergy, did all they could for their suffering countrymen.
And this is a brief record of the year of 1893. It was not a year of absolute happiness and joy; it was a year of difficulties and endeavors, a year of work hard to accomplish but which brings satisfaction if performed right. The foregoing lines show the magnitude of the task accomplished. This record should strengthen us in the conviction that much can be accomplished if one has determination, energy, and strong hands. With trust in God, with love in our heart for our neighbor, and with the leading 18star of our ideals before us, we are beginning the new year, and the Lord will help us accomplish that which we started--to reach the place of our destination.
III C, I A 2 a, I D 2 c, II B 1 c 3, II B 1 e, II B 2 a, II B 2 d 1, II B 2 f, II B 2 g, II C, II D 1, II D 3, II D 10, III A, III B 2, III G, III H
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