by Jade Newman, Polish Language Projects intern
The northwest side of Chicago is and was home to a vibrant Polish population. St Constance Parish was organized in 1916 by Rev. Alexander A. Knitter to meet the needs of the growing Polish community in the neighborhood of Jefferson Park. The first parish church was located at the intersection of Lawrence and Central Avenue. Early in its history St. Constance was humbled by many important visitors including Bishops: Kubina, Lukomski and Przezdziecki. The church choir attracted large numbers of new members to St. Constance. The parishioners participated in many societies organized by the church. As a result the parish became known for its social events.
As the Polish community continued to migrate northwest in the city, the need for a larger place of worship quickly arose. In response to this permission to purchase the land bordered by Ainslie, Marmora, Strong and Menard Avenues was requested from and granted by George Cardinal Mundelein, Archbishop of Chicago, in 1917. The larger property allowed both a school and rectory be built at St. Constance for the first time. The church and school buildings were further enlarged in 1926 and a new rectory was built in 1929. The building which housed the original rectory was converted into a Sisters’ convent.
Today St. Constance remains as a parish of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago. The parish church is located at 5843 West Strong Street and the school is adjacent at 5841 West Strong Street. Daily liturgies are delivered in both Polish and English. Additional information about the parish can be found at: http://www.stconstance.org.