He was born at Sulisławice, Świętokrzyskie Voivodeship, Sandomierz County, Kingdom of Poland, the son of Joseph and Mary (Sroczynska) Barzynski. In baptism he received the name Michael, but during an illness he was placed under the protection of St. Vincent Ferrer and henceforth called Vincent. Because of frail health he was educated privately. In 1856 he entered the diocesan seminary at Lublin and was ordained priest, 28 October 1861. After six months illness spent at the home of his father, he was appointed vicar at Horodlo, member of the chapter of the collegiate church of the Zamojscy, and later transferred to Tomaszew[disambiguation needed], which was the scene of great military activity during the Polish uprising of 1863. As organizer, appointed by the secret Polish national Government, he provided the insurrectionists with military supplies.
Compelled soon after to flee to Cracow, he found refuge with the Franciscan fathers in that city. After fifteen months of wandering he received his passport enabling him to leave for Paris in 1865. Here he fell under the influence of Peter Semenenko, Hieronim Kajsewicz, Aleksander Jelowicki, and Adam Mickiewicz, who dreamed of Poland's resurrection through the spiritual regeneration of the Poles. Going to Rome, he joined the newly founded Congregation of the Resurrection and soon after receiving the special blessing of Pope Pius IX set out for America (1866). After several years' labour in the Diocese of San Antonio, Texas, he was appointed pastor of St. Stanislaus parish, Chicago, in 1874, then comprising about 450 families.
Vincent Barzynski became a dominant influence during the period of Polish immigration. He gave the American Poles a class consciousness, and took a combative line against the Polish National Alliance. He assisted in the organization of nearly every Polish parish in Chicago established before his death. He built the St. Stanislaus Church and the school (since destroyed by fire and rebuilt), and gave the Poles an orphanage; founded St. Stanislaus College; introduced the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth into the United States; formed a corps of Polish teachers in his own school; and interested the School Sisters of Notre Dame in Polish immigration. He founded the first American Polish Catholic paper, the Gazeta Katolicka, his personal organ for many years, and established the first Polish daily Catholic paper in America, the Dziennik Chicagoski, against the in liberal press, particularly Zgoda, the organ of the Polish National Alliance. He founded the Polish Roman Catholic Union. Despite constant criticism from both clergy and laity, he remained indefatigable. He died at Chicago, 2 May 1899.
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