[Disclaimer statement] The information in this post was taken from Polish Detroit and the Kolasinski Affair by Lawrence D. Orton. In some cases the text was copied from the book, but most of it was paraphrased by me. You should not assume any information you find here is true. These are my working notes for a novel (a work of fiction) that I am writing and nothing more. If you want good, solid, well researched information on the subjects mentioned here you should get a copy of Polish Detroit and the Kolasinski Affair by Lawrence D. Orton (ISBN 0814316719 Wayne State Univ Pr (1981)). [End of statement]


January 1898 Potrzuski and followers consulted with Bishop. They wanted Fr. K to disclose his personal receipts and expenditures. Specifically they wanted to secure the financial books for the school, which Fr. K had always handled himself.

January 3, 1898    3,000 gather at a parish meeting at the schoolhouse where Potrzuski’s slate was elected to the parish. They passed resolutions at the meeting to the effect that management of the parish’s financial affairs was taken totally out of the hands of Fr. K. (p.151) The proceeds from the parochial school along with all fees for baptisms, marriages, burials and other ceremonies were turned over to the new treasurer (not Potrzuski) to be used for decreasing the parish indebtedness. Fr. K would only receive a small fixed percentage of these fees. He also lost his authority to hire the organist and other church officials and was to confine his duties to tending to the spiritual needs of his flock. Fr. K seemed to take this all in stride all appearances were that both sides were willing to patch up differences and make harmony.

Fr. K had lost much of his fiery nature due to poor and declining health. For a several years he had suffered from a heart aliment that sent him into choking spasms. The stress of the preceeding 12 years was taking its toll.

End of March 1898 Fr. K hosted a banquet for Fr. Dabrowski and the faculty from the seminary (at Detroit’s Richter’s Hotel) on the occasion that he received a recent graduate of the seminary as his assistant, Fr. Jozef Folta.

April 4, 1898 (Monday) Fr. K’s physician was summoned to his residence to treat breathing difficulties.

April 5, 1898 (Tuesday) His condition seemed improved but the doctor ordered him to rest.

April 8, 1898 (Good Friday) Fr. K suffered a stroke that paralyzed the left side of his body.

April 9, 1898 Bishop Foley spends time with Fr. K praying for him.

April 10, 1898 (Easter Sunday) The doctor trying to treat Fr. K is interrupted by parishioners who don’t trust him and want to treat him theirselves. Bishop Foley appears again and tells the parishioners to let the doctor treat him. Fr. K awakens briefly and kisses the Bishop’s ring to make peace.

April 11, 1898 (Easter Monday) Rev. Dominc Kolasinski died at 7:30am (p.153). Word spread around the parish and mourners gathered at the church. B. Foley came to lead them in prayer.

April 12, 1898 (Tuesday) Fr. K lay in state in SHM church while 15,000 mourners paid their respects. The procession with his body from the school building (and his residence) to the church was led by 6 priests headed by his old nemesis Fr. Dabrowski and he was carried by the Kosciusko Guard.

April 13, 1898 (Wednesday) Fr. K’s funeral. One hour before Mass the church was packed. The Journal estimated 35,000 people inside and outside the church (many non Poles but curious). Hysterical sobbing broke out as Fr. Romauld Byzewski, pastor of St. Francis, gave his eulogy. B. Foley said a few words to the parishioners urging them to pray for Fr. K. After Mass, 20,000 people followed the carriages to Greenwood cemetery to see him laid to rest. A graveside eulogy was given by his brother.

December 1898 Fr. K was reinterred in a stone mausoleum paid for from special collections taken up by his followers. A summary of his estate and the news reporting is on p. 155.

[The reason for Fr. K’s charisma is given as his deep attachment to traditional Polish religious practices and his intense Polish patriotism. He had an innate ability to reach the innermost yearnings and anxieties of those recent Polish peasant immigrants (particularly from Galicia) who were bewildered and overwhelmed by the alien ways of urban America.]