Mater Dolorosa Cemetery

Mater Dolorosa Cemetery in South Hadley was started in 1934 by the church in Holyoke.  It was formerly part of Notre Dame Cemetery.

Cemeteries of South Hadley

  • Private GROUP TOUR (COSTS) is one hour long for this Mater Dolorosa Cemetery walking tour.   Also a one hour indoor presentation can be given.
  • A free public tour comes up every five years.
  • A self-tour is available for anyone using the maps and text seen below. – LOCATION
  • A booklet is available HERE
  • introductory VIDEO

stop 1 – Malanowski gravestone

This family had its first burial in this family plot in 1931.  The Mater Dolorosa Cemetery was set out in 1934 and the boundary delineated at that point.  Since this was the only gravestone points outwards in the cemetery, it would have pointed into the trees that formed the boundary.  Look at that creative solution.  Find the patriarch of this family at FINDAGRAVE.

stop 2 – Ruszczyk military family

Joseph Ruszczyk (pictured herein) died in a plane crash in 1944 in the Pacific Ocean.  Three of his brothers are buried here that also served in WW2.  His cenotaph is at the Mater Dolorosa Cemetery – FINDAGRAVE.

There are many burials from WW2 in this cemetery.

stop 3 – priests circle

Some priests of the Conventual Franciscan Friars are buried in this small circle.  Leonard Pakulski who is the 5th pastor of the church is buried in this circle.  FINDAGRAVE

Most importantly, Ignatius Maternowski is in this inner circle.  He was a priest and then a pastor.  He was born and raised in Holyoke.  He entered WW2 as a chaplain but during the D- Day invasion he lost his life.  FINDAGRAVE

Video panoramic view of the priest’ circle.

stop 4 – old plots

From 1887 to 1906, most Polish of the region are buried in the Catholic cemetery nearest to their home.  Starting in 1906 and lasting to 1934,  the Polish of Holyoke are buried in Notre Dame Cemetery in this small lot.  Since 1934 the northeast quadrant of Notre Dame Cemetery has been set aside for Mater Dolorosa Cemetery.

stop 5 – Bauman stone

Julia Lewandowska started her medical practice in 1911. She was a natural speaker of Polish of which she was the first in Holyoke.  Her practice was at 97 High Street.  She concentrated on the young and the pregnant.