Rev. Edwin R. Kuczynski, O.S.A. (1918 - 2011)
Rev. Edwin R. Kuczynski, O.S.A. entered eternal life on January 22, 2011.
Edwin Robert Kuczynski was born in 1918 in Maytown Township, Illinois to John and Anna Kuczynski. He had five brothers and six sisters. He was baptized in 1918 at St. Patrick Church, Maytown, Illinois. He received the Sacrament of Confirmation in 1932 at St. Mary Church, Rockford, Illinois.
Following graduation in 1933 from St. Mary Elementary School, Rockford, Edwin enrolled in St. Thomas High School, Rockford, earning his diploma in 1937. After working for a year, he entered the Augustinian formation program in 1938 at Augustinian Academy, Staten Island, New York, where he did post-graduate studies in Latin.
Edwin was received into the Augustinian Novitiate on September 9, 1939. He professed simple (temporary) vows on September 10, 1940 and solemn (permanent) vows on September 10, 1943.
He earned a B.A. in Philosophy from Villanova University, Villanova, Pennsylvania, in 1944. Edwin then followed the course of theological studies at Augustinian College, Washington, D.C., from 1944 to 1948. During this time, he also earned an M.A. in Religious Education from Catholic University of America, Washington. He was ordained a priest on June 5, 1947.
Upon completion of initial formation, Father Kuczynski served in several parishes and schools, mainly in Illinois.
He was Assistant Pastor of St. Rita Parish, Chicago, from 1948 to 1950. He then taught at St. Rita High School, Chicago, from 1950 to 1951 and again from 1968 to 1972; St. Thomas High School, Rockford, from 1951 to 1959; Mendel Catholic High School, Chicago, from 1959 to 1965; and Augustinian Academy, St. Louis, from 1965 to 1968.
Father Kuczynski returned to St. Rita Parish, Chicago, in 1972 as Assistant Pastor. In 1984, he was named Assistant Pastor of St. Clare of Montefalco Parish, Chicago.
He retired from full-time ministry in 1989. In retirement, he resided first at St. Rita Monastery, Chicago, until 1992, then at Our Lady of Grace Community at Marian Village, Homer Glen, Illinois, from 1992 to 2004. Father Kuczynski then resided at St. Nicholas of Tolentine Monastery, Olympia Fields, Illinois, beginning in 2004. Declining health made it necessary for him to move to a skilled care nursing facility in 2007. While remaining assigned to Tolentine Monastery, he received care for a brief time at Crestwood Care Center, Crestwood, Illinois, then at St. James Manor, Crete, Illinois, until 2010.
Father Kuczynski relocated to the new Bl. Stephen Bellesini Friary for Augustinian friars in need of assisted living or skilled nursing care when it was established in September of 2010 at Franciscan Village, Lemont, Illinois. He was hospitalized for treatment of pneumonia in early January of 2011. Upon his release from the hospital, he returned to Bl. Stephen Bellesini and was there at the time of his death on January 22.
Father Kuczynski is remembered as a gentle soul who showed kindness to all. He lived a simple lifestyle and maintained a positive attitude, even as his vision, hearing and ability to walk deteriorated. As his health declined, he did not hesitate to ask for assistance when he needed it, but he was very thankful to everyone who performed helpful acts.
He is buried in the Augustinian plot at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, Alsip, Illinois.