Most Reverend Richard Gilmour, Bishop of Cleveland, formed the congregation of
St. Stanislaus by an official act in 1873. The early parishioners worshiped in
the abandoned St. Mary's of the Flats. Reverend Victor Zareczny of St. Adalbert
parish in Berea cared for the souls of the first parishioners of St. Stanislaus.
In 1876, Amasa Stone, owner of the Newburgh Rolling Mills, advertised in Poland for
workers. Thousands of Poles answered this call and migrated to the Newburgh area
of Cleveland. As the parishioners of St. Stanislaus increased in number, due to
this immigration, a new location of worship had to be found to accommodate the
larger congregation. Franciscan Father Wolfgang Janietz, O.F.M., took over the
care of the St. Stanislaus parishioners in 1879 and moved the center of worship to
St. Joseph's Church on Woodland Avenue.
As the congregation continued to grow, it became apparent that the parishioners of
St. Stanislaus needed their own house of worship. A site was found when farmer
Ashbel Morgan offered to sell some of his land to the people of St. Stanislaus.
The church committee bought thirteen lots for $3,000. Where St. Stanislaus Church
currently stands was once a potato patch.
A small church was built in 1881 which had a school on the first floor and the
church on the second floor. By 1885 there were about 600 families and a bigger
church was needed. Reverend A. F. Kolaszewski, who was then pastor of St.
Stanislaus, undertook the task to build the current church. The cornerstone was
laid in 1886 and the structure was completed in 1891. Diocesan priests cared for
the people of St. Stanislaus until 1906, when the Franciscan Order took over this
Due to the increasing number of school children, a new school building was erected
in 1907, coinciding with the arrival of the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth,
who replaced the Franciscan Sisters. The school was designed by Brother Leonard Darscheid, O.F.M.,
of the Sacred Heart Province. A central heating plant was built, which continues to
heat the school and church.
On April 21, 1909, a tornado destroyed the twin spires at the front of the church
and also devastated the roof. The parishioners bonded together and rebuilt the
church within the year. The city did not allow the spires to be built to their
In 1913 the present priests' rectory was built, and in 1918 the
sisters' convent was constructed. A second school building was erected in 1927 to
handle increasing enrollment. This later became St. Stanislaus High School, which
was in full operation by 1947. This school was later merged with four other parish
high schools to become Cleveland Central Catholic in 1969. The Social Center was
completed in 1961.
In 1976, St. Stanislaus Church was entered into the National Register of Historic Places.
A $1.5 million renovation was completed in the church in 1998.
Many church dignitaries have visited St. Stanislaus Church. In 1969,
then-Cardinal Karol Wojtyla, who later became Pope John Paul II, visited the church.
gave a relic of St. Stanislaus to the Polish community of Cleveland. In 1925, Right
Reverend John Cieplak, Archbishop of Wilno, Bishop Ladislaus Rubin in 1966, Bishop
Julian Groblicki of Krakow in 1976, and in 1999 Lech Walesa, Former President of
Poland and leader of the Solidarity movement, visited St. Stanislaus Church.
The parish records show that during its history, 127 men and women have entered the
priesthood or religious life from St. Stanislaus! Eighteen Franciscans entered the
Assumption Province; ten Franciscans entered the Sacred Heart Province; two men
became diocesan priests and one entered the Precious Blood community. Sixty-seven
women entered the Nazareth Sisters, eighteen entered the Sylvania Franciscan Sisters,
eight entered the Sisters of St. Joseph, and three entered three other congregations.
Two Franciscan Provinces have served St. Stanislaus Parish: Sacred Heart
Province, from 1906 - 1988, and The Province of the Assumption of the
Blessed Virgin Mary from 1989 until the present.
The church was designated the Shrine Church of St. Stanislaus on May 8, 2004 at the 5:00 PM Mass.