Vista Maria's History:
Responding to an appeal from Bishop Caspar Henry Borgess in 1883, five Sisters of the Good Shepherd arrived in downtown Detroit to the Ward Mansion on Fort Street to establish their first home. The industrial revolution brought progress and success to the area but left thousands of young girls and women behind, most of them living and working in desperate conditions. By the turn of the century, 33 Sisters were caring for more than 200 girls and young women in their facility.
Over the next 30 years, the House of the Good Shepherd continued to expand services to the ever-growing number of young women it served. In the late 1930s, the Sisters and the Salvation Army ran a joint fund-raising campaign called Open Your Heart, and successfully raised money for constructing new buildings, but still lacked property on which to expand. Then a miracle happened. After the Sisters prayed a novena for nine days, a representative of Henry and Clara B. Ford arrived at their door. He announced that the Ford family wished to give the Sisters 50 acres of land on West Warren Avenue in Dearborn Heights.
The Sisters bought the land from the Fords for just $1.00 and immediately began taking steps to build residence halls, a school, a powerhouse, and an auditorium/ gymnasium. On December 8, 1942, the House of the Good Shepherd officially reopened with the new name, Vista Maria.
From 1942 to the mid-1970s, the Sisters helped thousands of young women. During those years, the girls attended school, participated in activities, both on campus and in the community. In the early 1970s, as the Sisters numbers diminished, laypersons assumed a greater role in the agency's activities, and eventually would assume full responsiblity for operations, and program development and delivery.
The 1980's and 1990's were years of continued growth and change for the agency. New programs were added and the agency's focus evolved to provide abused and neglected girls with emotional, educational, psychological and spiritual guidance to facilitate their transition to adulthood as productive, contributing members of society.
Today, Vista Maria is recognized as providing best-in-class residential and community-based treatment and therapy for girls, young women and their families. Vista Maria looks to its future as a healing resource center, which will ensure that children and families within our communities have access to critical services and care.