LITHUANIAN QUARTERLY JOURNAL OF ARTS AND SCIENCES
Volume 38, No.3 - Fall 1992
Editor of this issue: Antanas Klimas, University of Rochester
Copyright © 1992 LITUANUS Foundation, Inc.
MARIANAPOLIS COLLEGE A VISIONARY IMMIGRANTS' DREAM
Rev. John C. Petrauskas, MIC
Marian Hills: 1922-1931
Dedication, financial sacrifice, joyful victories and painful defeats these are the ingredients of the Marianapolis story, a visionary immigrants' dream.
A long period of gestation with some 40 years of continuous endeavor, preceded the fulfillment of the dreams of the Lithuanian immigrants the establishment of a college for American young men of Lithuanian descent.
As early as 1885, a Franciscan Brother, Augustine Zuikis, has made an effort to establish a monastery and a school in Wisconsin for young men of Lithuanian extraction, but a lack of money and personnel soon caused the project to be abandoned.
At about the same time, Father A. Varnagaris was urging young men of Lithuanian extraction to join the Xaverian Brothers religious community. His plan was to form a Lithuanian branch of the Xaverian Brothers for the purpose of establishing a Lithuanian school. This project, too, was not realized.
After the turn of the century, however, members of the Union of American-Lithuanian Catholic Students began to agitate for the establishment of a Lithuanian College.
At the annual meeting of the American-Lithuanian Catholic Federation in Pittsburgh, Pa. in 1913, Father J. Misius read a paper urging the establishment of a Lithuanian college. After much discussion, it was decided that a half million Lithuanians in the United States should be a sufficient potential for establishing and maintaining a Lithuanian college. The Federation committed itself to promote this project.
At its annual meeting in Chicago in 1914, the Federation appointed a committee of 29 members to collect money for the founding of the proposed college; and by 1916 the fund amounted tp $440.87. By the time of the annual meeting in 1917, the fund had grown to nearly $1,000. With the outbreak of World War I, however, attention focused on seeking a restoration of political independence for Lithuania.
The war crisis, coupled with a quarrel which developed between the American-Lithuanian Catholic Foundation and the Lithuanian Priests' League as to who should be the prime mover in the founding of the college, resulted in the loss of a large portion of the $9,000 raised by the Foundation. When the Lithuanian college was finally established by the Marian Fathers, the college fund had dwindled to $2,000.
With the end of World War I, it became evident to both lay leaders and the clergy that there was no one group among them capable of assuming the burden of establishing their first religious house in America at St. Michael's rectory in Chicago in 1913, were appealed to because it became evident that they were the only group possessing the personnel and potential necessary for the establishment of such a school.
The Marians, themselves, had been considering a school of their own in which to train potential candidates for their community. After long deliberation and consultation with their own superiors and Lithuanian lay leaders, they decided to found the school.
With the purchase of Marian Hills in 1922 the long enduring aspiration of the Lithuanian immigrants to establish an institution of higher learning where their sons could study in a Catholic-Lithuanian atmosphere moved closer to realization.
Father Joseph Mačiulionis, the first American novice of the Marian Fathers, Father Felix Kudirka and Father Vincent Kulikauskas undertook the task of finding a site "reasonable in price and located in a rural area but dose to a railroad station" that would be suitable for their plans. (See Student Word, Vol. V, No. 7, pp. 163-166.)
It was a day in August that the three Fathers and a realty agent headed west from Chicago by automobile. In half an hour they were inspecting a 220-acre farm with 40 head of cattle and a flock of chickens. The group was pleased with the site and the official purchase of the land in Dupage County, Hinsdale, Illinois, took place on August 24,1922. The Marian Fathers took possession of the property on September 11,1922, and named it Marian Hills.
Construction of a novitiate building was begun on October 30, 1923, and completed in the summer of 1924 when 10 novices took up residence in the new building with Father Casimir Matulaitis as the Master of Novices. During the 1925-26 school year, under the title of Marian Hills College, the school offered a secondary school curriculum for a student body consisting of novices and candidates for membership in the Congregation of Marian Fathers.
In the spring of 1926, the former Father George Matulaitis, who had founded the original religious house of the Marian Fathers in the United States, returned to the United States, now as Archbishop George Matulaitis and still Superior General of the Marian Fathers. He was accompanied by Father Francis Bucys, Provincial of the Lithuanian Province. It was their intention to withdraw all of the Marian Fathers in the United States to Lithuania. When the two visitors saw, however, the dozen candidates for the Marian Fathers already in residence at Hinsdale, they changed their plans. Archbishop Matulaitis instead established a Province of the Marian Fathers in the United States and named Father Felix Kudirka as the first Provincial.
The Superior General and the new Provincial then made a visit to George Cardinal Mundelein to request his permission to establish a college for young men in Hinsdale. Cardinal Mundelein readily granted permission.
Early in July of 1926, Archbishop George Matulaitis blessed the new school which briefly bore the title of the Lithuanian College of America.
The Provincial and his Counselors appointed Father John Navickas as the first Rector of Marian Hills Junior College. Although he was aware of the difficulties and challenges such an immense task would involve, he welcomed the opportunity to fulfill what had been one of his life's ambitions. Ten years later he wrote about some of the administrative difficulties he encountered in the early years of the school..."! was fully cognizant that my task would not be a bed of roses. And I thank God for that, too!! The task was a thorny one indeed." (See Students' Word, Vol. IV pp. 218-224.)
In January of 1927 Archbishop George Matulaitis died and Father Francis Bucys was elected to the office of Superior General of the Marian Fathers. Father Bucys was an experienced educator who encouraged Father Navickas in his educational endeavors and provided strong support for the new college.
Marian Hills Junior College began its official existence in July of 1926 with an enrollment of 26 students. Enrollment was restricted to students of Lithuanian extraction and the purpose of the school was to prepare candidates for the priesthood who would become professors and instructors in the educational institutions conducted by the Marian Fathers.
In two years the college had its first graduating class. The six young men who graduated in 1928 were sent to the University of Kaunas in Lithuania for advanced studies. Later they transferred to the Angelicum University in Rome for theological studies. Four members of the first graduating class were ordained to the priesthood.
Candidates for admission to the college were required to be of Lithuanian extraction and to fulfill strict requirements which included being of good moral character and pleasant personality, intellectually curious, self-disciplined, spiritually upright and physically fit.
A typical day followed this unique schedule:
5:00 - Rise
5:30 - Morning prayers and meditation
6:00 - Mass
7:00 - Breakfast and free time
8:00-8:45 - First class
8:45-9:30 - Study
9:30-10:15 - Second class
10:15-11:00 - Study
11:00-11:45 - Third class
11:50 - Examination of conscience
Noon - Lunch and free time
2:00-2:45 - Fourth class
2:45-3:45 - Study
3:45-4:30 - Fifth class
4:30-5:00 - Recreation
5:00-5:15 - Visit to the Blessed Sacrament
5:15 - Conference
6:00 - Supper and recreation
7:15-8:15 - Study
8:15 - Night prayers
9:00 - Lights out
There were exceptions to the daily schedule. Thursday afternoon was a "free" afternoon from lunch until 5:00 o'clock and on Sunday morning every one slept in until 6:00 a.m.
By 1930 there were eight members of the instructional staff, teaching Greek, French, Latin, Lithuanian, World History, Lithuanian History, English, Mathematics, Sciences, Religion, Public Speaking, Ascetics, Chant, and Instrumental Music.
The class of 1931 published a yearbook in Lithuanian and one of the feature events of the school year was the presentation of a drama, "Two Crowns," with a cast of 36 and a 14-man orchestra, encompassing just about the entire student body. Six performances of the play were presented in various Chicago parishes and in Cicero.
In spite of the strict admission requirements and the rigorous academic schedule, ever increasing numbers of students found the program challenging and the enrollment increased so rapidly that by 1931 the college had outgrown its physical facilities and a decision was made to relocate the school. Since a majority of the students came from the eastern seaboard, a search began for a new school site in the northeastern states area.
Twelve of the 26 graduates of Marian Hills Junior College were members of the class of 1931, the last graduating class.
St Mary's College: 1931-1933
Purchase of Carolyn Hall
As early as 1929, Father John Jakaitis, who at that time was pastor of St. Casimir's Church, Worcester, Mass., before joining the Marian Fathers in 1931, was authorized on behalf of the Marian Fathers to search for a site suitable for establishing a school for boys somewhere in the "East." Some of the locations he investigated were a farm property in Shrewsbury, an abandoned jail in the Leominster-Fitchburg area, and "Sunset," an attractive estate in the Washington, D.C. area. The site which immediately captured his interest, however, was Carolyn Hall, the Norman B. Ream Estate in Thompson, Connecticut. The attractive landscaping and the ready adaptability of the buildings to school purposes were some of the reasons why Father Jakaitis viewed Carolyn Hall as the most acceptable of the locations under investigation. An impediment to the purchase developed, however, when the asking price for the property was found to be $300,000which placed it well beyond the financial potential of the Marian Fathers.
The asking price of $300,000 was not unreasonable since the main building or "Dwelling" was insured for $200,000 and all the other buildings and dwellings brought the total insured value to $297,950.
A year later Father Jakaitis again inquired about the property and the selling price was lowered to $200,000, but the cost was still prohibitive. Meanwhile the property, though unoccupied, was being maintained at a cost of about $25,000 a year. Father Jakaitis continued his search, but he felt that no other location could compare with the all-around attractiveness of the Ream Estate.
On March 16, 1931, the committee appointed by the General Council, namely, the Provincial, Father Felix Kudirka, Father Vincent Kulikauskas, and Father Bruno Vitkus, accompanied by Father Jakaitis, made an inspection tour of the Thompson property and all were favorably impressed. That same evening the Provincial and Father Jakaitis paid a formal visit to the Bishop of Hartford, Bishop John J. Nilan, who received them cordially and reiterated his previously given verbal permission to establish a religious house and school for boys in his diocese.
Acting on the petition of the American Provincial Council, the General Council in Rome on April 14,1931, approved the purchase of Carolyn Hall and the establishment of a religious house in Thompson, Connecticut.
On May 19, Father John J. Jakaitis was appointed by the Provincial Council to the office of administrator of the new property until such time as a formal religious house was established there.
On May 20, 1931, the first occupants of the new property were Father Jakaitis and his assistant, Father Bruno Vitkus, Brother John Seibutis, and Brother Joseph Apšiega. On the same day they were joined by lay people who were to assist with the household and farm chores: John and Ursula Tatulis of Worcester, Marijona Kviekšis, a widow from Boston, and Barbara Legikis from Brockton. Their salary was room and board plus $10 a month. Elizabeth Mazauskas joined the work group in August.
The first name given to the new religious house was "Mariampolis"; the educational institution was called both "College Marianorum" and St. Mary's College.
It was planned to begin operating as a college in September of 1932, but with the arrival of the Superior General, Bishop Bučys, in June of 1931, it was decided at his urging to open the school on September 8, 1931.
The academic year started with a four-year high school course and a one-year college course. During each succeeding year, one year of college work is to be added, resulting in regular college degrees at the end of four years.
The first Rector, Father John Navickas, arrived on September 3 and began to administer the affairs of St. Mary's College. Father John J. Jakaitis blessed the new college chapel on September 7.
Carolyn Hall becomes SL Mary's College
The blessing and the opening of the new college took place on the Feast of the Nativity of Our Blessed Lady, September 8, 1931. The exercises included a Solemn High Mass at 11:00 o'clock, with a Lithuanian sermon, blessing of the college, benediction, and inspection of the buildings and the grounds.
The blessing ceremony was performed by Most Reverend Peter Francis Bučys, D.D., Superior General of the Congregation of Marian Fathers, who came from Rome to be present for the dedication.
The 1932 elenchus of the Marian Fathers, in addition to the Superior, Father Jakaitis and the Rector of the college, Father Navickas, lists the following as members of the faculty: Rev. Bronislaus Vitkus, Brother Peter Gruseckis, Brother Edward Kubaitis, Brother Peter Malinauskas, Brother Peter Rakauskas, and Mr. John Kendrtarvich. Assisting with the non-scholastic operation of the college were Brother Joseph Apšiega and Brother Alexander Kinsgaila. Brother John Banys was the organist.
Sixty-two resident students were enrolled, 22 of whom were scholastics (Brothers with vows), ten were postulants, and 30 were regularly enrolled students.
The most pressing administrative problem was the renovation of the physical facilities to adapt them to school purposes. The Superior General gave his approval to proceed with any projects which received the approval of the Provincial Council.
The first financial report of the new institution, covering the period from May of 1931 to January 15,1932, listed expenses of $18,871.71 and $10,905.80 in income for a deficit of $7,965.71.
The first graduation exercises took place on June 8, 1932. Nine students completed the first-year college course and a like number completed the fourth year of high school. The members of the first High School graduating class were as follows: Casimir Baguslovas of Chicago; Joseph Gričius of Elizabeth, New Jersey; Joseph Kuprevičius of Providence, Rhode Island; Joseph Sabaliauskas of Lowell, Massachusetts; Peter Martinkus and Albin Sinkevičius of Chicago; Joseph Švambrys of Waukegan, Illinois; Stanley Vaičaitis of Mahanoy City, Pennsylvania; and Andrew Vilkišius of Lowell.
The following were members of the first-year college class: Francis Aukštakalnis, John Baltrušaitis, Joseph Dambrauskas, Balys Ivanauskas, Michael Jodka, John Kamandulis, Francis Morkunas, Vincent Sabas, and Michael Šmigelskis.
Shortly after the dose of the first school year, a distinguished visitor to the school was Bishop Maurice F. McAuliffe, Auxiliary Bishop of Hartford. In an informal conversation with the school staff, Bishop McAuliffe said: "I have been everywhere in Europe I have seen many beautiful places, but nowhere have I seen anything like this. Divine Providence has given us Catholics this blessed place."
The 1932-1933 School Year
The 1932-1933 school year began on September 8 with a Solemn High Mass with the Director, Father John Navickas, as the celebrant. That same day a field day was held and the highlight was a two-mile run. The top three finishers in this even were S. Baubinas of Lawrence, Mass., A. Jodka of Lawrence, and A. Badaris of Providence. Top over-all competitors were S. Alexandravičius of Chicago and J. Liola of Brockton. All the winners were awarded prizes of candy which they shared with their less fortunate competitors.
In its second year of operation, the college had a program of four years of high school and two years of college, with an enrollment of 72 students, 21 of whom were members of the Marian Congregation.
In the first half of the 1932-1933 school year, Rev. Dr. Navickas, (or "Doc" as he was fondly referred to by his students) with great ingenuity and resourcefulness directed his considerable administrative talents to the task of organizing the college and its supporters on a permanent basis.
His first project was an organization which eventually would be called "The Lithuanian Student and Professional Association." The organizational meeting took place on October 12, 1932, at St. Mary's College with 68 official delegates and 25 guests present for the meeting. It was at this meeting that it was decided that the purpose of the association would be to promote Catholicism and Lithuanianism among American students of Lithuanian extraction and to prepare them for positions of leadership, especially in the area of Lithuanian Catholic Action.
Everyone seemed highly pleased with the way the meeting was conducted and with its accomplishments and Father Navickas now had a viable organization to pursue his ethnic purposes. And St. Mary's College students were especially pleased that the newly formed organization was successful in its request that the college administration declare the following day a "free day."
Father Navickas next turned his attention to the financial problems of the college. On November 27,1932, he called the first meeting of what was to become the "Lithuanian Benefactors of St. Mary's College." About 50 delegates and guests assembled for the meeting. Officers were elected and plans were formulated for a permanent benefactor's organization.
Efforts were also being made to strengthen the faculty. Soon after the school year started, John P. Pilipauskas, a resident of South Boston, accepted a position on the faculty. He had pursued higher studies in Lithuania, and at St. Mary's College he assumed the duties of instructor in Lithuanian and moderator of Lithuanian activities.
There was also a noticeable intensification of activity on the college campus. On November 20, the 30-voice college glee club, under the direction of Brother John Banys, took part in a song festival in the parish hall of the Gate of Heaven Parish, South Boston, Mass.
Father Navickas encouraged the students to display their talents of whatever kind. Frequently he arranged an evening program of "gaudeamus" in which the students could exercise their musical and dramatic talents. One such occasion was a reception for the Superior General of the Marian Fathers, Most Reverend Peter F. Bučys, who was a visitor at the college on January 12th. The program consisted of songs by the college glee club and selections by the college orchestra, both of which were under the direction of Brother John Banys. One scene from "The Prophecy," the second annual dramatic production, was presented by the students.
Bishop Bučys, a former professor and well-versed in pedagogy, in his rather lengthy speech mentioned that the education of youth is a current and actual problem and always be so as long as there are people on this earth. The most important qualities of youth are good will and a desire to offer all even one's life, for the good of mankind. Good and sincere young people are the true riches of a nation its jewels. The young men of St. Mary's College shine brightly like a two faceted diamond, they are useful and beneficent citizens of the United States and they proudly uphold their Lithuanian heritage.
The first copy of "Students' Word," the official publication of the American-Lithuanian Students' Association, made its appearance in January of 1933. The editor was the new lay member of the faculty, John P. Pilipauskas.
St. Mary's College debating team made its first public appearance in May. The members of the team were Joseph Dambrauskas, William Sabas, Joseph Sabaliauskas, and Peter Balinskas. The opponents were Lithuanian students enrolled at Holy Cross College.
The debate topic was "Resolved: That the federal government should provide employment for the unemployed." The Holy Cross students upheld the affirmative. Since one of the affirmative team members did not have an opportunity to speak, a formal decision was not rendered. The sentiments of the partisan audience, however, favored the home team St. Mary's College. The debate was conducted in Lithuanian.
On the evening of June 8,1933, unpretentious graduation exercises took place in the school library. Father Navickas, the Rector, spoke briefly of the progress which the school has made in its two years of existence and then named the eight Honor Roll students who had achieved an average of 90 or better. After the presentation of awards, the Superior, Father John Jakaitis congratulated the award winners. The exercises were concluded with an address by Bishop Bučys who urged the students to study diligently so that they, as truly educated men, may contribute to the benefit of all mankind.
The graduating class consisted of nine Junior College and seven High School graduates. Valedictorians of their classes were Brother Joseph Dambrauskas for the sixth-year class and Brother Anthony Miciunas for the fourth-year class.
In a House Council meeting of January 27, 1933, the subject of incorporation was first broached. A motivating force for incorporation was that the complex problem of property taxes would be resolved by an act of incorporation.
It was at this meeting, too, that for the first time a proposal was made and accepted to change the name of the college to Marianapolis College. The name, St. Mar/s College, was abandoned because there were too many colleges functioning with that name. The new name, Marianapolis, is closely associated with the city of Marijampolė in Lithuania where the Marian Fathers first established themselves in that country.
Assisting with the details of incorporation was Attorney Allen Brosmith, the attorney for the Diocese of Hartford. A petition for incorporation was drawn up and on June 9,1933, the General Assembly of the State of Connecticut passed Special Act No. 472An Act Incorporating Marianapolis College, Thompson, Connecticut.
The first meeting of the new corporation was held in the offices of Attorney Allen E. Brosmith at 700 Main Street, Hartford, Conn. on June 13,1933. The first official act of the corporation was to accept the Act of the General Assembly incorporating Marianapolis College and notice of the acceptance subscribed by the temporary President and Secretary was filed with the office of the Secretary of State. At this meeting, the bylaws were unanimously adopted.
In accordance with the bylaws, Rev. Vincent Kulikauskas, Provincial became President and Rev. John J. Jakaitis became Vice President of the corporation. By a unanimous vote, Rev. John Navickas was elected Secretary and Treasurer and Rev. Peter Biskis was appointed a trustee.
A special train, 45 buses, and hundreds of private automobiles brought in a crowd estimated at 6,000 for the first Lithuanian Day July 4th, 1933, Picnic at Marianapolis. For most of the visitors, it was their first view of the beautiful campus of Marianapolis College and they were favorably impressed.
With the July 4th picnic, the second school year is brought to a close. The pattern is basically set and it would repeat itself from year to year. To promote the primary purpose of the college, i.e., to preserve the Lithuanian language and culture, in addition to the facilities of the college, there is a broader base, namely, the American-Lithuanian Catholic Students Association. Available for financial assistance now are the Lithuanian Benefactors of Marianapolis College, the annual dramatic production, and the July 4th Lithuanian Day as well as the private support of individuals who are anxious to promote the purpose and aims of the college.
The stage is set for substantial progress.
The 1933-1934 School Year
With an enrollment of 76 students, 27 of whom were candidates for the priesthood in the Congregation of Marian Fathers, the new school year began officially on September 12, 1933.
The school program now consisted of four years of high school, two years of college, and the first year of a seminary philosophy curriculum. New members of the faculty were Father Adam Morkunas, Father Peter Biskis, and Dr. Eugene Andrulionis. Father Biskis was to teach philosophy in the seminary department and Greek on the college level. Early in October, Peter Barauskis of Newark, New Jersey, a graduate of Seton Hall University, joined the faculty. He offered his services without remuneration as an instructor in Latin and American history.
Other members of the faculty were Father Alexander J. Bublys, Brother Anthony Ignotas, Mr. John P. Pilipauskas, Mr. John Kendrtarvich, and Atty. Francis J. Bobblis.
At their first meeting of the new school year, on September 16th, the Marianapolis unit of the American-Lithuanian Catholic Students' Association organized for the school year. The following officers were elected:
President Brother William Sabas
Vice President Brother Joseph Dambrauskas
Secretary Brother Anthony Mičiunas
Chairmen were elected for the Activities Club, Press Club, and Sports Club. Football was the main concern of the Sports Club. Mr. John Kendratarvich was named the faculty moderator of football and he appointed Brother Casimir Baguslovas as student manager with J. Jodka as his assistant. Brother B. Ivanauskas was appointed a committee of one to select a football coach. The president of the Sports Club, Brother Joseph Kuprevicius, appointed a committee consisting of Brother Stanley Vaičaitis, Brother Anthony Mažukna, and himself, to prepare a suitable site to serve as a football field. It was also decided to organize intramural basketball and bowling leagues, with the basketball games to be played on the outdoor court. Brother Anthony Ignotas was appointed to make whatever arrangements are necessary for fielding a school basketball team.
The Press Club, with 60 members attending, met on October first? with President Anthony Mažukna presiding. Correspondents were appointed for the following publications: Students' Word, Laivas, Draugas, Darbininkas, Garsas, and for English publications.
On February 16,1918, Lithuania declared herself a free and independent nation. The sixteenth anniversary 6f this declaration was solemnly observed at Marianapolis on February 13, 1934, just prior to the beginning of Lent. The program was organized by Peter Činikas, Julius Stankus, and Stanley Alexandravičius, and included the bearing of the Lithuanian flag into the assembly room to the accompaniment of drums and trumpets, a brief resume of the historical background of Lithuania's struggle for independence and a poetic recital and a piano solo.
During intermission, candy refreshments were distributed to the students and guests.
After intermission, a two-act play, "The Battle of Žalgiris" was presented, depicting the victory of Vytautas the Great over the invading Teutonic Knights in 1410.
Something new in the school program was a "Father's Day" program held on Sunday, May 20. The fathers of all the students were invited to be the guests of the school on that day. The program began at 3 p.m. with a selection by the school orchestra. After a welcoming speech, Father Navickas, the Rector of the College, addressed the group. The students presented a spiritual bouquet to Bishop Būčys in gratitude for the retreat which he conducted for the students. Younger members of the student body recited poetry and gave brief speeches in honor of their parents. Bishop Būčys brought the program to a close with a talk in which he reminded the students of their obligations to their parents. A dinner at-tended by the students and their fathers was the final event of the day's program.
The superior General of the Marian Fathers, Father Andrew Čikoto, reported the Marianapolis population as consisting of 71 students, 10 faculty members, and 10 women employed in the kitchen and the laundry. He also reported that the economic condition of the college was, unfortunately, tenuous. Combined tuition income and farm income were not sufficient to meet expenses and many students could afford only half the tuition or even less than half. By conducting missions and by rendering parochial assistance to the parishes on weekends and during the summer months, and with the donations of benefactors, the Marian Fathers had managed to reduce the deficit. Since the establishment of the school three years ago, $21,000 was spent to adapt and improve the educational facilities of the college.
Graduation - 1934
Graduation exercises were held on Sunday, June 10, with somewhat more solemnity than in previous years. The parents of the students were invited to the exercises and appropriate speeches were given by the salutatorian, Joseph Gudanavičius, and the valedictorian, Stanley Aleksandravičius. The graduation address was delivered by Father Casimir Urbonavičius who also awarded the diplomas. Twelve high school students and four junior college students constituted the graduation class.
The battle to increase the enrollment and to improve the financial status of Mariana polis continued with renewed impetus in 1934, and in July advertisements stating the school's purpose and admission procedure appeared frequently in the Lithuanian press.
At the same time, five Marian Fathers were ordained to the priesthood in Rome: Father Anthony Švedas of Providence, Father John Vosylius of South Boston, Father John Jančius of Lawrence, Father Alphonse Jagminas, PhD, of Brooklyn, and Father Joseph Vaškas of Newark. All five of the newly ordained were destined for important roles in the history of Mariana polis.
In August of 1934, a school catalogue, the first to be printed in English, appeared for the 1934-1935 school year. A school calendar scheduled registration on September 6th and graduation on June 16th. First semester examinations were to be concluded prior to the Christmas recess. Two programs of study were outlined for the high school department: a Classical Course and a Latin Scientific Course. The college department offered the following courses of study: Religion, Classical Languages, English, Public Speaking, History and Social Science, Mathematics, Modem Languages, Natural Science, Philosophy, and Education.
The purpose and policy of Mariana polis were stated:
"Mariana polis College was established by the Marian Fathers to offer young men a high education based on principles of Catholic morality. The aim of the college is not merely the training of the mind but more especially the building of strong character.
The educational work of Mariana polis College is conducted on a personal basis, fostering an intimate contact between student and professor." (pg.6)
Financing of the publication of the 1934-1935 school catalogue was underwritten by twelve pages of paid advertisements.
Unfortunately, just when everything seemed in readiness for the new school year, the Mariana polis philosophy department was transferred to Marian Hills Seminary, Hinsdale, Illinois. Father Navickas strongly opposed the move, but was unable to alter the turn of events.
The 1934-1935 School Year
On the third anniversary of the dedication of Mariana polis, September 8th, 1934, the school year began with 30 newly enrolled students, and a total enrollment of 82 students, 50 of whom were in the high school department and 32 in the two-year college program.
Three new faculty members joined the instructional staff: Joseph Varnaitis, recently of Fribourg University in Switzerland, Father Joseph Vaškas, recently ordained in Rome, and Father Casimir Urbonavičius. Father Vaškas will teach English and Father Urbonavičius will teach advanced Lithuanian.
Although the college enrollment was almost twice that of the previous year, continued concern remained over whether Mariana polis could anticipate normal growth as a school and at the same time preserve its philosophy of education. How-ever, based on a statistical study conducted by Sister M. Gabriella of the Sisters of St. Francis, it was decided that there was indeed sufficient potential enrollment in the nation with 16,615 Lithuanian elementary school students in Massachusetts alone.
Sadly, Mariana polis suffered a setback early in the school year when Father Navickas, the dynamic and energetic Rector of the college, was hospitalized at St. Vincent's Hospital in Worcester from October 26 to November 23 with the first of a series of heart attacks.
In spite of concern for Father Navickas, school activities continued to be many and varied. A new group, the Drama Club, was organized in December. The first officers of this club were President J. Stankus, Vice President A. Bambalas, Secretary A. Dranginis. The faculty moderator of the Drama Club was John P. Pilipauskas. Plans were formulated for a dramatic production to be performed in the Lithuanian parish halls in New England during Lent.
On a less successful note, the "Students' Word," the official publication of the Lithuanian Student and Professional Association, came under criticism as being too exclusively Catholic and for its policy of rejecting articles written in English. In both instances, it was felt that the publication was limiting its readership. Because of non-payment of dues, the "Students' Word" reported a debt of $600 at the end of 1934 and its publication was suspended until it could resolve its financial crisis.
A solution to the magazine's dilemma didn't appear until February of 1935 when a committee consisting of Anthony Mažukna, Joseph Liola, and Joseph Mekšraitis was named to solicit advertising for the financial support of "Students' Word." This committee was under the direction of Father Joseph Vaškas.
Plans for the first school yearbook were announced in March by the Mariana polis High School Class of 1935. The editor of the proposed yearbook was Stanley Grafas. At the same time, Michael Bigenis and Ted Kazlauskas were appointed to investigate the possibility of making Mariana polis school rings available to the members of the Senior Class.
The third annual major dramatic production, "Malediction," a three-act tragedy with a cast of 30, was in rehearsal during the winter months. The schedule of performances was extensive: performances m nine different parish halls in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut. At times there were afternoon and evening performances in closeby parishes, such as Cambridge and South Boston. At each presentation, Father Joseph Vaškas or Father Adam Morkunas took the opportunity to urge the audience to purchase "bricks" for the new dormitory at Mariana polis.
Graduation - 1935
Graduation exercises took place on May 30, 1935, with 21 graduates of the high school department. The Baccalaureate Mass was held out of doors and the graduation sermon was preached by Father Joseph Vaškas. Dinner was served to the graduates and their guests at the conclusion of the Mass.
The outdoor graduation exercises took place at 3 p.m. with the graduates robed in caps and gowns for the first time at a Mariana polis graduation ceremony.
Monetary prizes were awarded to the five Honor Roll students who had compiled an average of 90 or better for four years; Stanley Grafas, Edward Einoris, John Jurčikonis, John Kacevičius, and Joseph Liola.
The 1935-1936 School Year
The 1935-1936 school year opened on September 5th with several new members joining the instructional staff: Father John Vosylius, Father Anthony Švedas, Father Vincent Čižauskas, Dr. Joseph Raymond, and Mr. Jerome Ryscavage.
Thirty-two new students enrolled so that the total enrollment compared favorably with the 1934 total.
A gala two-day celebration marked the tenth anniversary of the founding of the school.
On the first day of the celebration, June 3, 1936, in an attractively decorated dining room and wearing party hats, the students and faculty initiated the celebration as they enjoyed a specially prepared dinner. After dinner, speeches were given by Father Alexander Bublys, in the name of the faculty, and a representative of each class. Joseph Mekšraitis was master of ceremonies.
The celebration continued on June 4th with a program for invited guests. A Solemn High Mass at 10 a.m. initiated the day's activities.
Graduation exercises took place on June 14,1936. It rained, but no one's spirits seemed dampened.
The baccalaureate sermon was preached by Father Joseph Vaškas. Father John Navickas, the Rector, opened the graduation ceremonies with a welcoming address. The High School valedictory was delivered by Julius Stankus and the Junior College valedictory was by John Šakocius. Diplomas were awarded by Father Augustine Petraitis and the graduation address was given by Peter Daužvardis, Consul General of Lithuania with residence in New York City.
The program was brought to a conclusion by Father Navickas who urged the 10 high school and the 15 junior college graduates "to be true to your Church and your national origin. Do what you were taught to do at Mariana polis and you will bring joy to your parents and to all your fellow nationals."
On August 18,1936, five Sisters of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary arrived at Mariana polis from Lithuania. They were accompanied by Mother General, Sister Mary Teresa, and they took over the operation of the dining facilities. These Sisters and their pre-vow names were the following: Sister M. Augustina Anna Navickas, Sister M. Aloysa Anna Šaulys, Sister M. Apolonia Mary Pacevičius, Sister M. Consolata Angela Paplauskas, and Sister M. Tarcissia Helen Navickas.
The 1936-1937 School Year
The official opening of the 1936-1937 school year took place on September 9th and the first classes met on September 10th. Eighty-six students were enrolled primarily from Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Illinois. There were two new faculty members, Rev. Dr. Alphonse Jagminas, MIC, and Rev. Dr. John Starkus, formerly the director of a secondary school in Seinai, Lithuania.
A balance of $6,130 was reported at the end of the 1936 fiscal year. The sum of $6,000, however, represents the donations collected for the construction of a new dormitory and $130 is the amount in the Mass stipend fund for obligatory Masses. In reality, there is no surplus and the financial situation continues to be precarious.
In February of 1937, Father Navickas announced a new phase of the campaign to raise funds for the building of a new dormitory. In the time period of February 16,1937, to February 16,1938, if 100 donors would contribute $100 each, he promised that ground breaking for the new dormitory would take place on February 16,1938. By June 4th, a list of 41 donors was published and of this group, 28 were Lithuanian clergymen.
Authorization To Confer Degrees
The General Assembly of the State of Connecticut, on April 28, 1937, by Special Act No. 163 authorized Mariana polis College to grant Associate of Arts and Associate of Science degrees.
Dr. Ernest W. Butterfield, State Commissioner of Education, promised to recommend similar legislation for conferring Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees two years hence.
Associate of Arts degrees were awarded retroactively without examination to 22 graduates and former graduates. Another 30 students were offered the opportunity to qualify for an Associate of Arts degree if they pass an "examina rigorosa," preferably during the Mariana polis summer school session. At the same time, it was announced that in the fall of 1937 Mariana polis would inaugurate programs leading to Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees. Rev. Dr. Alphonse Jagminas was appointed Dean of the Arts program and Jerome Ryscavage, M.S., head of the Science program.
Graduation - 1937
Graduation exercises on June 13,1937, honored 10 high school graduates and 17 graduates of the junior college. Father Joseph Valantiejus, assisted by Father A. Jagminas and Father John Starkus, celebrated the Mass. Father Jagminas preached the sermon. Dinner was served after the Mass and there were so many guests present that three sittings were necessary in the dining room.
John Šakočius was master of ceremonies for the graduation exercises which took place at two o'clock in the afternoon. The salutorian speech was given by Anthony Dranginis and Joseph B. Laučka delivered the graduation address. Valedictory speeches were given by John Pusčius for the high school graduates and Paul Sabulis for the Junior College class.
Seven members of the Junior College graduating class were awarded Associate of Arts degrees. Paul Sabulis received his degree "magna cum laude" and "cum laude" degrees were awarded to Michael Tamulevičius and Anthony Dranginis.
In addition to its academic achievements, the 1937 high school class produced a Lithuanian yearbook "Aušra The Dawn." The yearbook committee, consisting of Vincent Biekša, James Gailiunas, and John Stoškus, dedicated the yearbook to Father John Navickas.
A mimeographed yearbook, "Echo", was published by the Junior College class. It was unique since about a page and a half of its 12 pages were printed in English.
With the Mariana polis graduates now numbering about 150, on the day before graduation Father Navickas called a meeting for the purpose of establishing a Mariana polis Alumni Association. After determining the qualifications for membership and establishing yearly dues, it was decided that the "Students' Word" was to be the official publication of the alumni association.
The first elected slate of officers of the Mariana polis Alumni Association was:
Spiritual Director Rev. Dr. John Navickas
President Rev. Dr. Alphonse Jagminas
Vice President William Sabas
Treasurer John Petrauskas
Secretary Paul Sabulis
The 1937-1938 School Year
The 1937-1938 school year began on a slightly inauspicious note. Although a third year of college with an enrollment of 14 students had been added to the school program, the total enrollment was 76, a decline of 10 students from the enrollment of the previous school year.
Father Joseph Vaškas had left for Europe for doctoral studies and Robert Deadlier, the French instructor, accepted another teaching position. Their faculty replacements were John Buja and Joseph Gurskis.
By December of 1937, 80 donors had promised $100 each for the construction of the new dormitory. The total amount in the dormitory fund was now $12,000.
The annual dramatic productions for 1938 were "The Volunteers," a patriotic play depicting Lithuania's fight for independence and "The Harmful Way," an adaptation from Arthur's "Ten Nights in a Barroom." Fifteen performances were presented including, for the first time, appearances in Brooklyn and Maspeth, N.Y. and Elizabeth, N.J.
A summer school program with an enrollment of 24 students was conducted from July 6 to August 12. Lithuanian was featured in the program and the instructors were Father Casimir Kmitas-Urbonavičius, Father Jagminas, Father Joseph Pauliukonis, and Anthony Skirius.
1938-1939 School Year
The 1938-1939 school year opened with the customary ceremonies on September 8th. For the first time the school curriculum encompassed the full four years of college in addition to the four year high school program. Total enrollment increased to 90 students.
The ethnic solidarity of the school was breached for the first time with the enrollment of three non-Lithuanian students, two of Irish extraction and one Pole Malloy, Bergen, and Meczywor.
Student Council officers for the college department were the following: President Anthony Dranginis, Vice PresidentAnthony Kasparas, Secretary Balys Laučka. John Klebauskas was elected president of the high school division. Four Marian Fathers and eight salaried instructors constituted the faculty as the year began.
Hurricane of 1938
September 21, 1938, began as a beautiful autumn day. During the night, the wind blew briskly but by noon the wind had subsided and the day was warm and pleasant.
About three o'clock in the afternoon, the wind picked up again and a major storm began to develop. It grew dark and the wind increased in velocity and began to blow the rain sharply against the window panes and to stir up dark clouds of leaves and debris. Strong gusts of wind, intermingled with hailstones, began breaking off tree tops.
By four o'clock in the afternoon, the winds were clocked at 100 miles per hour and began to top everything in their path. The tops of many trees were broken off and even sturdy oaks were uprooted. Chimneys were tumbled to the ground like dominoes.
At Mariana polis, the hurricane struck for about two hours with the maximum force in effect from 4 p.m. until about 20 minutes past four. The main college building, as solid and sturdy as it was, shook and creaked. Shortly after five o'clock the rain diminished but the winds continued to blow strongly. It was not until 7:30 p.m. that the winds began to lose their forcefulness and by 9 p.m. all was again calm and quiet.
The first assessment of damage indicated that transportation in the entire area was paralyzed by fallen trees; telephone and electric lines were inoperative; and a state of emergency was declared.
As soon as the storm subsided, Father Navickas asked some of the students to go from house to house on Thompson Hill to offer whatever assistance they could to the townspeople.
Marianapolis' buildings and grounds suffered extensive damage, but, fortunately, there were no serious personal injuries nor loss of life.
Although the scars and wounds of the hurricane were to be in evidence for many months to come, life finally returned to normal.
At the annual Mariana polis Benefactors meeting on the 30th of October, Father Navickas announced that the hurricane damage to Mariana polis amounted to $50,000. In the annual report of the Marian Fathers for 1938, the damage estimate was listed in excess of $20,000.
Continuation of the 1938-1939 School Year
In a meeting of the Mariana polis House Council on January 2, 1939, it was voted to repair the hurricane damage to the greenhouse for the sum of $1300. At the same time, it was noted that the federal government was offering $10,000 for the lumber rights to the forest trees which were uprooted by the hurricane. A bid of $6,000 for cutting the trees into lumber form was received. The total operation would leave a profit of $4,000.
At the same meeting the Connecticut State Board of Education offered permission to Mariana polis College to grant B.A. and B.S. degrees. However, the offer contained the stipulation that if no degrees were granted for two years in succession, the permission would be rescinded. It was decided to seek to eliminate that stipulation.
Marian Hills Seminary, the predecessor and parent school of Mariana polis, ordained its first graduating class on January 22, 1939. Five of the six newly ordained were Mariana polis graduates and the sixth was a former instructor at Mariana polis. They were the first fruits of the Marian Fathers educational system in the United States which now ranged from the first year of high school all the way through the major seminary department.
Those ordained by Bishop William O'Brien, Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago, in the Marian Hills Seminary Chapel were Rev. John Kamandulis, Rev. Michael Jodka; Rev. Joseph Dambrauskas, Rev. Peter Činikas, Rev. Anthony Ignotas, and Rev. Peter Barauskis.
The annual dramatic production for 1939 was a four-act patriotic play, "Freedom for the Fatherland," which depicted Lithuania's struggle with Poland for independence. The schedule of performances included two first-time appearances, in Newark, N.J. and Greenfield, Mass.
On May 2,1939, by Special Act No. 200, the General Assembly of the State of Connecticut authorized Marianapolis College to confer the degrees of Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science.
The year 1939 was an election year for the Marian Fathers and a House Chapter was held at Marianapolis on April 4th. One of the items discussed was the new building program. Mention was made of the fact that students are already being housed in two rented homes in Thompson and that the present dormitory, which could be converted to a gymnasium, has been condemned by the state department of education for use as a dormitory. A motion was made and unanimously voted to begin construction of a new dormitory during the current year. The estimated cost of the new dormitory was $100,000 with $30,000 in the building fund.
Graduation - 1939
June 11,1939, was an historic day. It was the graduation day for the first four-year college class. The Baccalaureate Mass was celebrated at 10 a.m. and the sermon was delivered by Rev. Dr. Joseph Vaitkevičius, Rector of Marian Hills Seminary.
At three o'clock in the afternoon, for the first time, Marianapolis College conferred Bachelor of Arts degrees on the 15 members of the graduating class. The Commencement Address was delivered by Professor Kazys Pakštas, professor of political economy and geography at Kaunas University in Lithuania. His advice to the graduates was to overcome their 'inferiority complex'.
Paul Sabulis gave the valedictory speech. Diplomas and degrees were awarded the students by Rt. Rev. Msgr. John Ambot of Hartford. Both Monsignor Ambot and Prof. K. Pakštas were installed as honorary members of the Lambda Tau Sigma fraternity.
The Lithuanian Consulate of New York awarded book prizes to the outstanding scholars as follows:
College Paul Sabulis and Anthony Dranginis
Junior College F. Kenstavičius and F. Jaškus
High School J. Klebauskas and F. Gvazdauskas
The 1939-1940 School Year
The 1939-1940 school year began with a new administration taking office as Rev. Dr. Joseph T. Pauliukonis was named Superior; Rev. Dr. John Navickas was named Rector of the College; and Rev. Dr. Joseph Vaškas the Director of the High School. The new House Counselors were Rev. Peter Malinauskas and Rev. Dr. Joseph Vaškas. Three Marian Fathers, Father John Vosylius, Father Peter Malinauskas, and Father Vincent Andriuska arrived from Hinsdale, Illinois, and were newly assigned to the Marianapolis faculty as instructors in English, mathematics, and religion respectively.
Father John Jančius and Father Thomas Poška were assigned to pursue graduate studies at Laval University in Quebec.
Among the enrollment of 81 students were three students from Lithuania. Student elections took place early in the school year with officers being elected: College Division Student Council President was Peter Aikšnoras and the High School Division President was Joseph Brazauskas.
Purchase of Gladding Estate
The course of events at Marianapolis was effected by the death of Mrs. Ellen DeForest Gladding. Mrs. Gladding died of pneumonia on May 3,1939, in her winter home in Providence after a week's illness. She was 82 years old.
On September 28, 1939, the Gladding Estate was sold to Marianapolis College for the sum of $30,000 by the Industrial Trust Company, Arthur M. Allen, and Thomas E. Steer, all of Providence, executors and trustees under the will of the late Mrs. Gladding.
The sale included the 18-room mansion, 92 acres of land, a bam, four-car garage, and kennels. The Barrodale farm and furnishings of the mansion were not included in the sale.
In January 1940, there were several administrative and instructional changes at Marianapolis. Father Peter Malinauskas became the Director of Marianapolis High School and Father Vincent Andriuška took over the instruction of French. In place of Joseph Ranieri, who accepted a position in Boston, John Petkus joined the science faculty. Rev. Dr. Joseph Vaškas, the Vice Rector and previous Director of Marianapolis, was appointed pastor of Our Lady of Vilna Parish in Chicago, replacing Father Michael Urbonavičius who was assigned to new duties in Rome and Lithuania.
Graduation exercises were held on June 9,1940. Celebrant of the Baccalaureate Mass was Rev. Dr. Casimir Reklaitis of Rome. Bishop Peter Francis Būčys preached the sermon and also delivered the graduation address. Valedictorians were George Agurkis for the high school department and Peter Aikšnoras for the college graduates. The Consul General of Lithuania, Jonas Budrys, also addressed the graduates.
Bishop Būčys was initiated into the Lambda Tau Sigma Fraternity as an honorary member. He awarded diplomas to nine college graduates, 17 junior college graduates and nine high school graduates.
On June 14 and 15, 1940, Lithuania was occupied by the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and the Lithuanian-American interests now became more political than educational, with a resulting declining concern for the well-being of Marianapolis.
Triennial appointments for the Marian Fathers were issued on July 19. Father John Jančius was named Vice Rector of Marianapolis College and an instructor in religion. Father Anthony Ignotas was appointed as an instructor of English at Marianapolis. The following were assigned to graduate studies: Rev. Adam Morkunas for History at Catholic University; Rev. Vincent Andriuška for Theology at Laval University; Rev. Michael Smigelskis for Philology at Laval University; Rev. Frank Aukštakalnis for Mathematics at Marquette University; Rev. Vincent Černis for Science at DePaul University.
Frank "Duke" Duksta of Brockton, Mass., a member of Marianapolis High School class of 1936, died on August 7, 1940. He was the first Marianapolis alumnus to pass on to his eternal reward.
The 1940-1941 School Year
The 1940-1941 school year began with a Solemn High Mass celebrated by Father John Jančius and classes met for the first time on September 9th.
A new member of the faculty was Anthony Vaičiulaitis, an award-winning Lithuanian author, who assumed his teaching duties in December as a professor of Lithuanian literature. (See Encyclopedia Britannica, Vol. XIV, pg. 220.)
Enrollment was now ethnically diversified and had increased to 87 students. Included in the second semester enrollment were eight students from the surrounding towns of Thompson, Pomfret and Putnam.
At this time, a revised Marianapolis catalogue, printed in English, appeared. Entitled "Marianapolis College High School and College Catalogue," it listed the Board of Trustees, officers of administration, faculty, admission requirements, etc.
As a statement of purpose, the catalogue explained that the educational plan of Marianapolis College is so designed, that as a student rises in the realms of knowledge, he learns to approach, slowly and surely, more closely to the greatest of teachers, his Creator. And in the last analysis, it is the strength or lack of character by which men rise or fall.
As to its accreditation, the catalogue states that Marianapolis College is approved by the Department of Education of the State of Connecticut and is affiliated with Catholic University, Washington, D.C.
Admission requirements continued to be very liberal since admission to Marianapolis High School is granted to any student who has successfully completed the eighth grade of a public or parochial grammar school and admission to the college is granted to any student who has the proper academic credits and who is in good health.
Tuition, board, room, and laundry fees are listed as $375 for college students and $320 for high school students.
To receive an Associate of Arts or an Associate of Science degree, a minimum of 70 semester hours credit and a 75 average were required.
Father Navickas announced an Honor Roll for the first marking period of the 1940-1941 school year and listed the following: High School Marcel Benjamin, Raymond Brazauskas, Peter Daužvardis, and Peter Remeika. College Alfred Bagdonas, Anthony Čepanis, Floyd Cole, Francis Gvazdauskas, John Klebauskas, and Edgar Page.
The annual financial report for 1940 listed both income and expenses at $33,745.01 and unpaid bills in the amount of $4,000 and a debt to the Province of $3,000.
Toward the end of the school year, some administrative changes were announced by the Provincial, Very Rev. Dr. John C. Navickas. Rev. Dr. Joseph Pauliukonis, Marianapolis House Superior, tendered his resignation on June 3rd and was appointed pastor of St. George's Parish, Niagara Falls, N.Y. The Rev. Dr. Joseph Vaškas became the new Superior of Marianapolis.
On the same day, at a meeting at Marianapolis of the Lithuanian Catholic Priests of New England, Father Provincial introduced Father Joseph Vaškas as the new Rector of Marianapolis College. Father Vaškas was a graduate of Marian Hills High School and Junior College in Illinois, completing his philosophy course at the Seminaire de Philosophie in Montreal, Canada. He studied theology at the Angelicum University in Rome where he received his doctorate degree in Sacred Theology.
Graduation exercises began on June 8,1941, with an outdoor Mass celebrated by Father J. Kasakaitis. The sermon was delivered by Rev. Dr. Casimir Matulaitis. During the Mass, Julia Jakavonis' and Joseph Laučka were sponsors for the blessing of a second school flag with a Lithuanian motif.
During the afternoon graduation exercises, Rev. Dr. John Navickas gave his farewell address. For fifteen yearsfive years at Hinsdale and ten years at Thompson he had been the administrator and the heart and soul of the school. He expressed his gratitude to the faculty for their cooperation over the years and introduced the new Rector, Rev. Dr. Joseph Vaškas. In turn, Father Vaškas spoke of the many accomplishments of Father Navickas in education and in promoting Lithuanianism and mentioned that Father Navickas was stepping down to devote more time to his demanding office of Provincial of the Marian Fathers.
The baccalaureate address was given by the Honorable Joseph Kajeckas, Charge D'affaires of the Lithuanian Embassy in Washington. Student speeches were given in three languages. For the High School graduates, Walter Kuliešis spoke in Lithuanian and Thomas Kane in English. Balys Laučka spoke in Lithuanian and Edgar Page spoke both in English and French on behalf of the Junior College graduates. Walter Karaveckas was the valedictorian of the College graduates.
The final event of the day's program was the investing of the Very Rev. Dr. Joseph Vaškas with his new office of Rector of Marianapolis College.
For the first time, the graduates represented a variety of nationalities, and the class of 1941 evinces a change of policy in which Marianapolis abandoned its idealistic but unrealistic aim of conducting a purely Lithuanian school.
The 27 graduates of 1941 were distributed as follows: college 4, junior college 11, and high school 12. The school was later saddened to learn that one member of the 1941 high school class, Albert Ruback of Lansford, Penn., was killed in action on the day before V-J Day.
Benedict Cesna, of the class of 1938, died while in military service in the Panama Canal Zone on July 3, 1941. Military funeral services were held in Chicago on July 26.
Father Navickas Dies
For several years, Father John M. Navickas had suffered with a heart condition which periodically incapacitated him. Finally, on the evening of Tuesday, September 2,1941, he died at St. Vincent's Hospital in Worcester.
On September 4th, he was waked in the Conference Hall at Marianapolis and at 2 p.m. on Sunday, September 7, his re-mains were transferred to the school chapel. The funeral Mass was celebrated on the front portico, where he had so often presided at the graduation exercises, on Monday, September 8, exactly 10 years to the day that the blessing and dedication of Marianapolis took place.
Celebrant of the Mass was Bishop Henry J. O'Brien, Auxiliary Bishop of Hartford, with 160 priests and a large crowd of religious and faithful from all parts of the United States in attendance. Rev. John J. Hayes, Vice Chancellor of the Diocese of Hartford, and organists, under the direction of Ralph Juška, sang for the services. Father John Švagzdys of Brockton preached the eulogy.
After the Mass, a procession took place to the burial spot, the gazebo near the 12th Station of the Cross, on the outskirts of the Italian garden. Casket bearers were Rev. Dr. Joseph Vaškas, Rev. Dr. Joseph Pauliukonis, Rev. Adam Morkunas, Rev. Thomas Poška, Rev. Joseph Kuprevičius, Rev. John Vosylius, Rev. Casimir Stadalnikas, and Rev. John Šaulys.
At the grave site, John Budrys, Consul General of Lithuania, representing the President of Lithuania, paid tribute to Father Navickas as an outstanding Lithuanian patriot.
A farewell sermon was preached by Father John Balkunas of Maspeth, N.Y. Several hundred mourners then filed by the casket and ceremoniously sprinkled earth over the coffin.
"Doc" Navickas was a man of two hearts. One was spiritual, noble, warm, full of love. The other was physicalweak, overworked, and ill-functioning. The physical heart was incapable of containing the spiritual heart. The pressure was too great and the delicate vessel finally burst.
"Doc" loved his students with a paternal love. Indeed, he was criticized for pampering his students. His reply was that of St. Francis of Sales: "You can catch more flies with a spoonful of honey than with a barrel of vinegar." His example of self-sacrificing devotion and love will long remain with those who were fortunate enough to have him as a teacher and a counselor.
The 1941-1942 School Year
The death of Father Navickas was a lamentable and grievous misfortune for Marianapolis. Rev. Dr. Casimir Reklaitis was appointed the new Provincial of the American Province and one of his first announcements was that he would continue the Stations of the Cross project initiated by Father Navickas. He also requested donations for a Lourdes Grotto and St. Joseph and St. Ann shrines as planned by Father Navickas.
Rev. Dr. Joseph Vaškas, prior to the death of Father Navickas, had been designated as Rector and Superior of Marianapolis. Subsequently, Rev. Adam Morkunas was appointed Vice Rector and both Rev. Joseph Kuprevičius and Vincent Šaulys were appointed as prefects of discipline. Other newly assigned faculty members were Dr. Anthony Rakauskas, MIC, and Rev. John Šaulys.
The first meeting of the Student Council took place on October 30. With the ethnic changes in the student body, it was decided to concentrate all of the school activity under the direction of the Student Council. The following officers were elected:
President John V. Navickas
Vice President John Stoškus
Secretary Edward Galevičius
The annual report of the Marian Fathers indicated that at the close of the 1941 calendar year, there were 13 instructors at Marianapolis, three salaried instructors and ten Marians (eight Marian Fathers, one Brother, and one Cleric). Enrollment was listed as 76 students. Income for 1941 was listed as $35,780.52 and $41,290.60 in expenses.
World War II began to exert its impact on Marianapolis in January of 1942 when George Yuška, a fourth year college student, became the first Marianapolis student to be drafted for military service. In March, another fourth-year college student, Edward Kashuba of Forty Fort, Pa., was drafted, as was Edward Galevičius, Student Council secretary and administrator of the "Students' Word."
Also in March, Dr. Eugene Andrulionis, Philosophy and Latin instructor, was the first member of the faculty to be called to military service. Following him were John Pilipauskas and Coach John Janusas.
Each religious congregation was requested by the government to permit 10 percent of their membership to volunteer as military chaplains. The first of the Marian Fathers' volunteers was Father Anthony Svedas, Novice Master, who departed April 25 for duty as an Army chaplain at Kelly Field, Texas. In June, Father John Vosylius, English instructor at Marianapolis, became a Navy chaplain and Father Thomas Poska left for Oregon to become an Air Force chaplain. At a later date, Father Michael Smigelskis volunteered his services as a Marine Corps chaplain.
President Antanas Smetona
On March 2,1942, the exiled president of Lithuania, Antanas Smetona, paid an official visit to Marianapolis College. In an exclusive interview, he discussed the occupation of Lithuania with a Putnam Patriot reporter. (The Putnam Patriot, Vol. LXX, No. 9, pg. 1.)
The Lithuanian people are looking to the United States as the one world power that will ultimately restore their country to its position as one of the free democracies of the world.
"Speaking of the Russians, who occupied his country prior to the beginning of the Russo-German war, with contempt and hatred, the former president emphatically declared that his country would once again stand as a free land and that his people would once again live under self rule, in a democratic way.
"After leaving his native land, President Smetona spent some time in Germany and then proceeded on through Switzerland and Portugal to South America and then to the United States.
"When asked why he had chosen to flee when the Russian invasion started, the exiled president declared that 'our enemy were gangsters and I would never rule my country under the domination of such people'.
"Asked whether he believed that his country was in a better or worse condition since the Germans replaced the Russians as overlords, the president dolefully replied: 'It's been bad under both regimes/ 'All we can hope for now/ he added, 'is that through the power of the United States, we, and all the small democracies of Europe, may once again secure freedom from outside domination. Then and not until then, our boundaries will be respected and our people will be free/
'A short, thick man of about 60 years, President Smetona speaks English well."
An entry in the Marianapolis Guest Book, under date of March 2, 1942, reads: "I am delighted with the opportunity to visit Marianapolis. A. Smetona, a wayfarer from Lithuania."
Graduation exercises were held on June 14,1942. Of the 68 students enrolled at graduation time, 33 were members of the graduation classes. For the first time, among the graduates, were 15 members of the post-graduate group. The 1942 graduates numbered three college students; three junior college students; 12 high school students; as well as the 15 post-graduate students.
The 1942-1943 School Year
The religious administration of Marianapolis at the opening of the 1942-1943 school year consisted of Rev. Adam Morkunas as Superior; first and second counselors were Rev. Vincent Cemis and Rev. Joseph Kuprevicius. Rev. Joseph Vaskas was the secretary of the religious house and the Rector of the college.
On September 24, Marot Junior College, which had been located in Thompson since 1913, announced it would not r-open for the new school year. An article in the Putnam Patriot explained that "According to College officials, fathers of many of the girls have entered the armed services and the students themselves are withdrawing their registration to train for service in the women's units." (Vol. LXX, No. 38, pg. 1.)
There was a decline in enrollment at Marianapolis, too, and the precarious financial situation compelled the school authorities to take drastic steps to alleviate the situation. Football scholarships were discontinued and football for the 1942 season was drastically curtailed. Only one game was played and Marianapolis was outclassed by Putnam High on November 6 by the score of 33-0.
October 5th was designated by the Rector of Marianapolis as Scrap-Salvage Day. There were no classes in either the high school or college departments and every student pledged to contribute his whole day's time to the quest for scrap-metal on the vast college grounds as a patriotic response to the nationwide campaign to collect scrap metal.
Student Council officers were elected on October 27. Milton Stark of Hollywood, Cal. was elected president, and Raymond Yuska and John Navickas were elected vice president and secretary.
The annual report for 1942 states that seven Marian Fathers and one Marian Brother are members of the faculty as well as two lay teachers. Enrollment is 45 students. Cash operations for 1942 report an income of $35,085.19 and expenses of $33,870.58
In 1943, World War II took its toll of activities of longstanding at Marianapolis. At the start of the second semester of the 1942-1943 school year, all third and fourth-year college courses were discontinued, due primarily to the large number of students who have been drafted for military services. The first two years of college continued to limp along for three more years.
Marianapolis students continued to be subject to the draft. Anthony Jurevicius left for military service on February 3 and the next day Raymond Yuska, vice president of the Student Council, whose brother George was the first Marianapolis student to have his studies disrupted by the draft the previous year, answered the call for military service.
Some steps were taken in an effort to improve the financial situation at Marianapolis. In May, a Bingo Party at St. Casimir's Church in Worcester raised $100 and the showing of movies of recent events at Marianapolis by Father Adam Morkun as raised another $85.
Graduation day, June 6, 1943, was a bright sunny day. Celebrant of the Baccalaureate Mass was the Rector, Rev. Dr. Joseph Vaskas. Assisting him as deacon and subdeacon were Rev. Vincent Andriuska and Rev. Casimir Stadalnikas. Brother Peter Remeika was master of ceremonies.
Outdoor graduation exercises began at 2 p.m. with an introductory speech by Rev. Dr. V. Andriuska. Edgar Page sang two solos "Ave Maria" and "Salve Regina." The class president, Anthony Kirmil, read the class prophecy. Valedictory addresses were given in Lithuanian by Milton Stark and in English by Raymond Brazauskas. The Graduation Address, both in English and Lithuanian was delivered by Attorney Anthony Miller of Worcester. He also awarded the diplomas to the graduates.
In concluding the graduation exercises, the Rector, Father Vaskas, announced that two special students, John V. Navickas and Edgar Page have fulfilled the requirements for a bachelor's degree. The former was awarded a Bachelor of Arts degree and the latter a Bachelor of Science degree, the only one ever granted by Marianapolis College.
So it was on June 6,1943, that Marianapolis College ceased to exist as an educational institution, a casualty of World War II. In its short life span, it produced 33 graduates and granted 32 Bachelor of Arts degrees and one Bachelor of Science degree as follows:
1940 9 graduates
1941 4 graduates
1942 3 graduates
1943 2 graduates
In June of 1946, as the only member of the Junior College Class, Richard Balnis, and the 114th to be so graduated, received his diploma, Marianapolis College ceased to exist.
From its establishment in 1926, the high school department continued to produce graduates every year. After several name changes, in September of 1948, the high school assumed its current name of Marianapolis Preparatory School. For the 1991-1992 school year, Marianapolis Preparatory School has an enrollment of 220 students, including students from seven states and six foreign countries.