Memorable Manitobans: Leopold Anthony Klawiter (1813-1913)
Born at Klisz, Poland on 4 October 1813, he lost his parents at an early age. He was educated at Kalisz, Pictrikowj, and Zytomier where, at the age of 24, he was ordained as a priest in the Roman Catholic church. In 1863, he became a chaplain of a Polish military regiment at Rawa then, later that year, was appointed commander-in-chief of Polish forces at Pultusk. In November 1863, he crossed into Prussia and never returned to his native land.
After spending a few years in Switzerland, he moved to Liverpool, England in 1866 where he worked as a dock worker before emigrating to the United States. There, he served as a missionary for the Baltimore diocese to Slavic peoples in the country, and established over fifty Polish parishes during the next twenty years. He founded the Polish National Church of America.
In 1906, he came to Canada and ministered for two years at the Polish National Church on Burrows Avenue in Winnipeg. He spent some time at the Trappist monastery at St. Norbert before going to Mikado, Saskatchewan where he organized a Polish parish. In declining health, he returned to Winnipeg in 1911 and resided with priest A. Markiewicz at 377 Alfred Avenue until his death.
He died at Winnipeg on 25 September 1913 and was buried in the St. Mary's Polish National Catholic Cemetery.
“Founder of Polish National Church of America buried,” Winnipeg Tribune, 1 October 1913, page 9.
“Polish priest almost hundred,” Manitoba Free Press, 1 October 1913, page 10.
Obituaries and burial transcriptions, Manitoba Genealogical Society.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 8 November 2020