In 1883, 5 Sisters of the Good Shepherd arrived in downtown Detroit to the Ward Mansion on Fort Street to establish their first home. The industrial revolution left thousands of young girls and women behind, most of them living and working in desperate conditions. As a result, 33 Sisters were caring for more than 200 girls and young women in their facility by the turn of the century.
Over the next 30 years, the House of the Good Shepherd continued to expand services, but lacked the adequate property on which to do so. Then a miracle happened. Henry and Clara Ford wished to give the Sisters 50 acres of land on West Warren Avenue in Dearborn Heights.
The Sisters bought the land for just $1.00 and immediately began taking steps to build residence halls, a school, a powerhouse, and an auditorium/ gymnasium. Then, on December 8, 1942, the House of the Good Shepherd officially reopened with the new name, Vista Maria.
Over the years, the agency continued to grow to meet the ever-changing needs of children and their families from our communities. Today, the agency offers an array of community-based programs that include: education through two on-campus charter schools; general and treatment foster care; youth assistance programming; independent living; transition services; and after-school programming.
We would like to thank our hosts Kelly Small, Director of Strategic Initiatives and Janet Jones, Values Educator for give us a wonderful and informative tour. For more information about Vista Maria please visit www.vistamaria.org