Honoring the Legacy: Stephen Mizwa’s Gravestone

In Poland, All Saints' Day holds special significance as a time for families to remember and honor their departed loved ones. In November, members of the KF/New England remembered Stephen Mizwa, the esteemed founder of the Kosciuszko Foundation, by cleaning his gravestone. This was a symbolic gesture of preserving his legacy and paying respects to a man who played a pivotal role in fostering cultural ties between Poland and the United States.

Stephen Mizwa, a visionary and dedicated individual, founded the Kosciuszko Foundation in 1925 with the goal of promoting cultural and educational exchanges between the United States and Poland. The foundation has since become a beacon of Polish American friendship, supporting initiatives in the arts, sciences, and education.  He is buried in Chicopee, MA, in the Holy Mother of the Rosary Cemetery.

Cleaning Stephen Mizwa’s gravestone was a thoughtful way to show appreciation for his contributions and maintain a connection with the founder of the Kosciuszko Foundation. This act of cleaning is not merely a physical task but a spiritual one, symbolizing the care and respect we continue to hold for those who have shaped our shared cultural heritage.

It is also very reminiscent of All Saints’ Day in Poland.  This day is marked by visits to cemeteries, where families gather to clean and decorate the graves of their ancestors. This tradition is a beautiful expression of love, remembrance, and the belief that the spirits of the departed are present among the living on this special day. By extending this practice to Stephen Mizwa’s resting place, we reinforce the idea that his legacy lives on through the ongoing work of the Kosciuszko Foundation.

KF New England Chapter members who participated are Scott Hartblay, co-president, Ed Dzielenski, treasurer, Nancy Dzielenski, Marta Armata, secretary, and Pawel Armata.


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