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Dabrowski, Joseph


Priest, educator who influenced the growth of Polish Catholic parishes and schools in the U.S.; b. Zoltańce, Russian-held Poland, Jan. 27, 1842; d. Detroit, Mich., Feb. 15, 1903. The first of five children of Jozef Teodor Konstanty and Karolina (Borucka) Dabrowski, he was baptized Jan Jozef Henryk. From the Lublin gimnazjum he went to the University of Warsaw, which he left to fight under Gen. Ludwik Mieroslawski in the unsuccessful Polish uprising of January 1863 against czarist Russia. After living as a refugee in Saxony, Switzerland, and the Papal States, he was among the first six students admitted to the new Pontificio Collegio Polacco founded at Rome (1866) by Pius IX, who entrusted its care to the resur rectionists. Dabrowski completed his philosophical and theological studies at the Gregorian University and was ordained Aug. 8, 1869, in Rome. At the suggestion of Rev. Leopold Moczygemba, OFM Conv, and with the help of Bp. Joseph Melcher of Green Bay, Wis., Dabrowski immigrated to the United States in December of 1869 to work among Polish Catholics in Wisconsin. During 11 years as parish priest, he built two churches, a mission chapel, parochial school, convent, and rectory. At his insistence, the Felician sisters arrived in the United States (1874) to staff the parochial school in Polonia, Wis., whence they spread elsewhere. He assisted the sisters in establishing a novitiate and in setting up a printing shop, which published Polish textbooks for elementary grades. In 1882 he transferred his activities to Detroit, where during the remaining two decades of his life he continued to guide the expansion of the Felician sisterhood and its schools and publications. He also collaborated in establishing SS. Cyril and Methodius Seminary and St. Mary's High School in 1885 for the training of bilingual Polish-American priests. As rector of the Polish seminary (18851903) and director of the Felicians (18741903), he helped to provide Polish parishes with priests and parochial schools with teachers, contributing more than any other single individual to their development.

Bibliography: j. v. swastek, "The Formative Years of the Polish Seminary in the U.S." in The Contribution of the Poles to the Growth of Catholicism in the United States, ed. f. domaŃski et al. (Rome 1959) 29150. m. j. studniewska, "Father Dabrowski and the Felicians," Polish American Studies 16 (1959) 1223. b. kolat, "Father J. D.: Educator," ibid. 9 (1952) 1116. e. bozek, "The Founder of the Polish Seminary," ibid. 8 (1951) 2128.

[j. v. swastek]

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