Father and Son Keeping the Faith alive

By Johnny Kashub

One hundred and sixty-two years have passed since the first Kashubs arrived from Europe’s Kashubia to our area, where you can still see and witness the strong faith of our Kashubian forefathers. The Kashubian tradition of building and erecting roadside crosses is still very much alive. Adam Shulist and his son, Joseph, are making sure that the next generation will keep the faith strong.

As caretakers of one of the fourteen roadside crosses which dot the Hills of Wilno, their cross has lost its life to decay. The Kashubian traditions of roadside crosses came over from Kashubia starting in 1858 where these crosses were built before their church was built, where it gave the Kashubs a place to worship if weather and road conditions were poor and they could not make it to mass. This was way before the very drivable roads that we have today.

Adam and Joe have replaced the old one which was passed down to them many, many years ago by their ancestors, with a very special cross which they have built on the Shulist homestead farm, north of Wilno. The main frame of the cross is made of cedar from their own bush and hewn out of the wilderness. The wooden frame for the roof is made of wood that was shipped from Kashubia, Europe and donated by Maciej Czapiewsczi (Chapeskie) a son of Kashubia. Maciej is the brother to Daniel Czapiewsczi who shipped two pioneer buildings from Wilno to his heritage park in Szymbark, in the heart of Europe’s Kashubia. One of the buildings was donated by Adam Shulist. Joseph was invited to the grand opening of these pioneer buildings in 2009. Adam had visited Kashubia in 1999 with his brother, Martin, where they attended the church of their grandparents.

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