Nov 18 2014

Elic was outraged. When he visited with Father Tyszkiewicz, their exchange further outraged Elic, who issued an ultimatum to the priest. The priest’s response was unacceptable to Elic who proceeded to fire his gun over the head of the priest. 

Elic then piled brush around the church’s rectory and stable lighting them on fire. Next, he piled brush and debris in the stairwell of the school and convent attempting to burn them as well. 

Nuns and members of the community extinguished the fire at the school, convent and rectory; the stable burned to the ground. 

The new Bishop in San Antonio, John Claude Neraz, transferred Fr. Tyszkiewicz to the even more remote Silesian village of Panna Maria in Karnes County, Texas. Then turned his attention to St. Hedwig. His first move was to appoint a new priest to the community Father A. J. Pelczar. The old-timers in the community seldom mention his next step: he threatened the community with “interdict” or closing the church if they did not protect their priests from violence. 

The order of nuns that was headquartered in St. Hedwig was disbanded.

Father Tyszkiewicz was the last of a number of Polish priests who came to St. Hedwig and demanded that they be treated like royalty. In the late 19th century, the Roman Catholic Church in the Silesian communities of Texas benefited from their own children entering the priesthood. These young men ministered to their own communities with whom their shared common values and democratic traditions. 

Elic Tudyk remained a “wanted man” with Bexar County law enforcement issuing warrants for his arrest. Elic was arrested when he returned to St. Hedwig to face justice. He was eventually released after his father Nicholas provided land for a Justice of the Peace Court and a deputy sheriff in St. Hedwig. 

St. Hedwig never built a jail. It continued the practice of chaining prisoners to a tree until they could be transferred to Bexar County’s infamous jail called the Bat Cave.