The church is named in honor of St. Stanislaus, a bishop of Krakow and martyr who lived c. 1030-1079. According to the traditional narrative, Stanislaus admonished King Boleslaus II for abducting a nobleman's wife. Boleslaus responded by ordering his guards to kill the bishop while he said Mass. The guards balked, so Boleslaus ran in and did it himself. Stanislaus was canonized in 1253. He remains one of the most famous Polish saints, and a popular namesake for Polish and Polish-American churches.
St. Stanislaus Church reflects the vibrancy of the Polish community within New Haven. Numerous Polish immigrants, often seeking jobs, settled in Connecticut during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries--so many moved to New Britain, Connecticut that it became known as Little Poland. In these lively communities, the parish church held a central role, facilitating social events, promoting Catholic education, and sustaining cultural traditions.