LIVONIA, MICH. - Today, more than 100 alumni, faculty, staff, and benefactors sloshed through the pouring rain to join Madonna University President Michael Grandillo, the Felician Sisters of North America, and the Most Reverend Allen H. Vigneron, Archbishop of Detroit, as they broke ground to begin construction of a $9 million, 28,000-square-foot Madonna University Welcome Center and Felician Sisters of North America Heritage Center and Archives.
Following a blessing of the construction site by Archbishop Vigneron, President Grandillo described how the Welcome Center would enhance how the University recruits new students, celebrates alumni and donors, and preserves its Felician history. “This building will be a physical demonstration of our commitment to providing a caring, personalized, values-based learning community for students. It also will be home to the priceless archives of the University’s visionary founders – The Felician Sisters of North America.”
Provincial Minister for the Felician Sisters of North America Sister M. Christopher Moore, shared her excitement about the Felician Sisters Heritage Center and Archives, designed and funded by the Sisters, and housed within the Welcome Center. “This new 4,300-square-foot Center, to be built here in Livonia – the site of the first Felician Province in North America – is a highly interactive celebration of the Felician Sisters’ heritage; a remembrance of the legions of courageous, selfless, and faith-filled Sisters who have come before,” she said. “It also provides an exploration of the countless ways that the Felician Sisters are continuing to make a difference today among the marginalized and those in need across the continent.
Designed by MKC architects, and built by J. S. Vig Construction, the contemporary structure was inspired by the Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi, in Italy, and is reflective of the values of St. Francis that are espoused by the Felician Sisters and the University Community. The Felician Sisters of North America Heritage Center and Archives, along with the landscape and structure of the Welcome Center, will become a place for spiritual wonder and self-discovery.
The Welcome Center also will feature a Great Room that accommodate up to 400 people, for a wide range of University and community events. In addition, the facility will include an art gallery, a café, and offices for University admissions and advancement staff members. The Felician Sisters archives, as well as reading rooms, storage, and circulation equipment will be housed in the lower level of the Welcome Center.
The garden outside the west wing of the building will offer privacy and peace to all visitors It will feature nine planters with space for a donated tree from each of the eight (former) Felician Provinces in the United States. The ninth tree, representing Mary, the Madonna, the University’s patron saint, will be featured through the Great Room window facing the garden.
Follow the progress of the Welcome Center and the Felician Sisters of North America Heritage Center and Archives development at madonna.edu/welcomecenter.
A Felician-sponsored ministry, Madonna University has been providing liberal arts education, career preparation and service-learning to students for more than 80 years. In addition to the beautiful main campus, conveniently located at I-96 and Levan Road in Livonia, Madonna offers academic programs in Gaylord, Macomb, and online in China, Haiti and the United Arab Emirates. Michigan’s most affordable, independent, Catholic, liberal arts university, Madonna offers more than 100 undergraduate and 35 graduate programs in the colleges of arts and humanities, natural and social sciences, education, and nursing and health, as well as the School of Business.
A joy-filled, apostolic congregation of women religious, the Congregation of the Sisters of Saint Felix of Cantalice, known as the Felician Sisters, is a Franciscan community inspired by the spiritual ideals of its Foundress Blessed Mary Angela Truszkowska and Saint Francis of Assisi. Consecrated to God through the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience, the Felician Sisters of Our Lady of Hope Province live in community and dedicate their lives to God and the Church. At Felician-sponsored ministries across North America the Sisters can be found serving the impoverished; marginalized; the imprisoned; the sick, elderly, and the infirm; those with profound disabilities and those with developmental and physical disabilities; young adults and youth ranging from pre-school through college.