About us

Our Mission Statement

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The purpose of the Polish Mission of the Orchard Lake Schools, which were founded in 1885 by Polish immigrants, is to preserve and promote Polish and Polish-American culture, tradition, and history for present and future generations. The Polish Mission organizes programs, courses and events that highlight Polish and Polish -American culture and accomplishments, and ensures a repository for artifacts, archival materials, works of art, and publications.

History of the Orchard Lake Schools

 

seminaryoldThe Orchard Lake Schools, originally known as the “Polish Seminary,”were founded in the late 19th century when the need arose for priests to care for Polish immigrants. In January 1879, Fr. Leopold Moczygemba, a Polish Franciscan priest, secured permission from Pope Leo XIII to establish a seminary in the United States to train men for the priesthood for that purpose. Fr. Moczygemba entrusted this papal charter to Fr. Joseph Dabrowski, another Polish immigrant. In July 1885, the cornerstone was laid for SS. Cyril and Methodius Seminary on Detroit’s east side.

The first class of students enrolled in December 1886. After 24 years of growth and expansion, larger quarters were required and the seminary was transferred to Orchard Lake in 1909, some 25 miles northwest of Detroit, scenic grounds of the former Michigan Military Academy.

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In July 1885, the cornerstone was laid for SS. Cyril and Methodius Seminary on Detroit’s east side. The firstclass of students enrolled in December 1886. After 24 years of growth and expansion, larger quarters were required and the seminary was transferred to Orchard Lake in 1909, some 25 miles northwest of Detroit, scenic grounds of the former Michigan Military Academy. Remodeling and new construction from 1912 through 1928 permitted further growth in enrollment. Three distinct schools: SS. Cyril and Methodius Seminary, St. Mary’s College and St. Mary’s Preparatory-emerged from a restructuring of the seminary in 1927-28, each with a four-year program.

Through extensive fund-raising efforts, support for the Schools in the Polish American community increased, making possible the construction of seven buildings-including a library, dormitory, dining hall, Shrine Chapel of Our Lady of Orchard Lake and the Robert Dombrowski Fieldhouse. Between 1957 through 1973, four auxiliary centers were established on campus as unique resources to the community at large. In 2000, the Frank and Mary Padzieski Science Center and the Stanley Bielawski Brent Chapel were dedicated.