Our History


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.  The Ford family 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.

Present & Future

For years, Vista Maria added new programs and evolved to provide abused and neglected girls with emotional, education, 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.