Finding the Perfect Fit

Finding the Perfect Fit

St. Stanislaus Kostka Church in Chicago is my favorite church in the United States. Besides the fact that it’s one of the prettiest, most grand churches I’ve seen, it is the feeling of home I get walking through its doors that makes it top my list.

Founded in 1867 as the first Polish church in Chicago, it’s often called the “mother church” of Chicago’s Polish community. Beyond this public history, the parish holds a personal past. After immigrating to the United States with my father and oldest aunt, my Polish grandparents settled in a nearby neighborhood, and my family became a part of St. Stan’s family.

Growing up, my immediate family’s many trips to the city always involved Mass at the church. But as is often the case, with age, life quickly took over, and it wasn’t until my grandmother’s funeral just a few months ago that I had a chance to return.

Two weeks ago, I visited once again. As I sat under a towering column holding the domed ceiling high above, my 5-year-old self reappeared, with my head and body refusing to stop moving until I was able to take it all in: Even under renovation, the church was beautiful. 

Soon, though, a sense of peace brought slowness. The feelings of familiarity and serenity that churches, especially this one, are so good at providing washed over me: prayers flowed freely, words engaged, and 60 minutes felt like seconds.

I know any church should, and does, feel welcoming as God’s house, but to me, some just feel more like home than others. No matter where I’ve moved, it seems I always have to “try on” a few churches before finding the right fit. St. Stan’s is my perfect size.

People always say there’s an innate need to make one’s house a home. I think the same can be said for your church.

Do you have a church that “fits just right”?


Photo credit: Matt Banks/


About the Author

Rachel Zawila is an assistant editor of St. Anthony Messenger magazine. With previous journalism experience in the spa and wine industries, she is skilled in the art of relaxation. An avid traveler, she enjoys meeting new people around the globe, hoping one day to find someone who can pronounce her last name correctly on the first try.
  • Mckendzia

    What a lovely piece! It illustrates how, for so many people, a parish becomes part of home.

    I can name five parishes that have been home to me over the years: Holy Rosary, in Passaic, NJ, the parish of my early years, and like St. Stan’s, a solidly Polish parish; St. Paul’s in Clifton, NJ, where I spent my teenage years being formed in the movement of the post-Vatican II Church; St. Ignatius Loyola, in Manhattan, a haven in my post-college years; St. Maria Goretti in Scottsdale, AZ, beginning my life as a wife and mother; and finally, Christ the King parish, in Kingston, RI, where my adult faith journey has been challenged, nurtured, and supported by a dynamic faith community.

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  • C

    I love polish masses.  I grew up in St. Casimir’s, Adena, Ohio.  There is nothing like Polish nuns rattling off the rosary in Polish, and gradeschooler (me) rattling back (not knowing exactly what I was saying).