Parish History

A History of St. Bridget Parish

st_bridget_history1.jpgThe Charter of the township of Rutland was grated to Josiah Willard of Winchester, N.H. on September 7, 1761. This township included the present city of Rutland, and the towns of Rutland, West Rutland, and Sutherland Falls (now called Proctor). The first named grantee was John Murray, who had lived in Rutland, Massachusetts and who probably named this town.

What is now West Rutland (and originally Rutland, West Parish) was settled about this time. The settlers were farmers and a few tradesmen who came from Connecticut and Massachusetts. In 1773 a sufficient number of people were here to found a Congregational “Meeting House”. More arrived in the 1790’s and early 1800’s and a small village developed. In about 1840 “Rutland, West Parish” was comprised of a Congregational Meeting House, two stores, a tavern and about twenty dwelling places. (Gazeteer of Vermont-Tadock Thompson-1842).

Probably the first Catholic to settle here was John Hanley. “Some adventurous Irish immigrants came here in the 1830’s”. (Souvenir of the Golden Jubilee-1910). More of them settled in Castleton where a building was bought and converted into a church in 1835. Father Jeremiah O’Callaghan, the Apostle of Vermont, first offered Mass in this church. In 1837 the Reverend John B. Daley O.F.M. came to assist Father O’Callaghan, taking charge of the southern portion of Vermont, with his headquarters in Middlebury. He visited the Catholic settlements four or five times a year, in this vast territory. The Catholic settlers of West Rutland went to Castleton to assist at Mass in these early years.

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History of St. Stanislaus Kostka

 

st_sk_history_300.jpgThe first record of Polish settlement in West Rutland was in the year 1890.  Work in the marble quarries attracted fellow countrymen.  By 1893 there were fifteen married couples and fifty-eight single men.  In the following years, a Polish priest would periodically hear their confessions, offer Mass and preach sermons.  Records indicate that a Father Chalupka of Chicopee, Mass. and a Father Molekaitis from Albany, N.Y. made visits.

In his 1902 parish report to Bishop Michaud, Father Carty, then pastor of St. Bridget's church, mentioned that there were approximately four hundred Polish people living here.  He recommended that they have their own pastor.

In the spring of 1903, Bishop Michaud asked a priest of the Springfield, Mass. Diocese, a Msgr. Smith, who was scheduled to go to Rome, to find some Polish priests that would agree to come to Vermont.

The priest made inquiries in Rome and was put in touch with Valentine Michulka and Francis Kolodziej.  It happened that the three of them met in St. Peter's square while awaiting for the announcement of the new Pope who was Pius X, Later canonized a saint.

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St. Bridget Church:
12 Church Street, West Rutland, VT 05777 +Map
St. Stanislaus Kostka Church:
11 Barnes Street, West Rutland, VT 05777 +Map
St. Dominic Church:
45 South St, Proctor, VT 05765 +Map