West Side Detroit Polish American Historical Society
Holds Fourth Annual Spring Pilgrimage
And Tours Felician Sisters’ Motherhouse in Livonia
On Saturday, March 12, 2011
The West Side Detroit Polish American Historical Society held its Fourth Annual Spring Pilgrimage on Saturday, March 12, 2011, and hosted a Lenten Pilgrimage at the Felician Sisters’ Motherhouse on Schoolcraft Road at Newburgh Road in Livonia, Michigan. For the past three years, the Society has organized a pilgrimage on the Saturday following Easter that includes visits to several historic west side Polish churches, along with a traditional Święconka, or Polish Easter meal. This year, the Society had the great privilege and opportunity by special invitation to visit the Felician Sisters’ Motherhouse and Chapel in Livonia, and we decided to make the Motherhouse our sole destination.
The day began at 11:30 a.m. with a full course lunch in the Sisters’ dining room, followed by a guided tour of the Motherhouse. Approximately 75 pilgrims took part in the event. An optional Mass was held in the Chapel at 4 p.m. following the tour, celebrated by Msgr. Stanley Milewski, former Chancellor Emeritus of the Orchard Lake Schools and a Society member. Alina Klin, Ph.D., a Director of the Society, served as lector.
Among the sites visited within the Motherhouse were the Archives, the Library, the Felician Heritage Room, the Infirmary, the various chapels (including the main chapel), and the various dining rooms. Sister M. Angela of the Motherhouse was responsible for helping coordinate the tour. Tour guides included Sister M. Cynthia Ann, Sister M. Thomasita, Sister M. Juanita, Sister M. Janice, Sister M. Elaine, and Sister M. Dolores Ann.
The Congregation of Sisters of St. Felix of Cantalice-better known as the Felician Sisters-had their roots in Warsaw, Poland. They were founded on November 21, 1855, by Bl. Mary Angela Truszkowska, who was born in Kalisz in 1825. Her entire life was devoted to prayer and care for the needy. She is known as Patron of the Sick. She died in 1899 and was beatified in Rome on April 18, 1993, by Pope John Paul II. Her calling led to the creation of a religious order that today consists of nearly 2,000 vowed women religious working in 12 countries around the world.
The year 1874 marked the arrival of the first Felician Sisters in the U.S., and 1880 was when the first Felicians arrived in Detroit. They have had a presence in the Diocese and Archdiocese of Detroit since that time. They now operate a number of major local Catholic institutions in our area, including Madonna University (which was founded in 1947 and began as Madonna College) in Livonia, St. Mary Mercy Hospital, and Ladywood High School. They minister to senior citizens through the Marywood/Marybrook Nursing Care Center and to the terminally ill at Angela Hospice. They serve young children at the Montessori Center of Our Lady, and they have a special ministry to older priests at their Senior Clergy Village residence. Remarkably, on one square mile alone, they serve over one million people per year.
The Felicians also serve in parishes and schools throughout the Archdiocese and in some neighboring dioceses.
The Livonia Motherhouse was built between the years 1935 and 1937. The Motherhouse Chapel was completed in 1961.
The Society’s next event will be its ever-popular ’60s Polish Wedding Party on June 25, 2011, at the Stitt Post in Dearborn Hts. Reservations will be required. To be added to the mailing list for this event, please contact the Society’s Executive Director, Ms. Laurie Gomulka, at 1-855-POLONIA (765-6642).