Parish History (Page 2 of 8)
1895 - 1937 (Part I)
This period covers the Pastorship of Father Adalbert Malusecki who was the great builder of St. Mary's Parish.
Father Malusecki was ordained in the Cathedral of SS. Peter and Paul, Philadelphia, by Archbishop Ryan on May 29, 1887. He was the first priest of Polish descent ordained in the Philadelphia Archdiocese. His first assignment was as assistant to Father Kattein at St. Laurentius, Philadelphia, the very same Father Kattein who had looked after the needs of Reading Polonia from 1878 to 1882. Father Kattein continued to look after the flock at St. Mary's from 1882 to 1887, journeying from Philadelphia occasionally to preach and hear confessions. Father Malusecki also made the journey to St. Mary's from Philadelphia. When father Kattein died in August, 1887, Father Malusecki was appointed his successor at St.Laurentius. He probably continued traveling once a month to Reading until Father Lebiecki was assigned to Reading. In 1895, Father Malusecki, already well-known and loved in Reading, was appointed pastor of St. Mary's.
He added two classrooms in the basement of the church structure to relieve the overcrowding in the school housed on the first floor of the Rectory. In 1899-1900, he saw to the building of the upper church.
Interior of St. Mary's, 1900
Father Malusecki secured the services of the Bernardine Sisters to teach in the school. Because there was no convent, quarters were rented for them at 1210 Spruce Street.(at that time the home of Frank and Rose Czartorynski). In 1898, the Sisters moved to Ridgewood, they gave up teaching in the school, which reverted to lay teachers.
In 1904, Father Malusecki built a 12-room school behind St. Mary's Church in what is now the rear parking lot behind the church, and he secured the services of the Felician Sisters to conduct the Parish School.
First St. Mary School, Built 1904
A new Rectory was built in 1908, and the old Rectory became the Convent for the Felician Sisters (prior to that, the Sisters lived at 316 South 12th Street, which later became the home of Clara Kowalski).
From Left to Right, New Rectory, St. Mary Church,
In 1924, a new convent was built and the Felician Sisters moved into it.
Felician Convent, Later to Become Mary's Shelter,
and Finally Sold in 2019
In 1926, the old convent became a day nursery/kindergarten and convent for the Little Servant Sisters of the Immaculate Conception, whom Father Malusecki brought over from Poland. Like the Bernardine's in 1894, the Servant Sister look back on St. Mary's as their first foundation in the United States.
In 1928, Father Malusecki built the St. Mary Hall/School Annex on the southeast corner of 12th and Spruce Streets. It was the last of his building ventures.
Father Adalbert Malusecki
St. Mary Roman Catholic Church
250 South 12th St., Reading, PA 19602