More than 100 alumni, faculty, staff, Felician Sisters, and benefactors endured the pouring rain to join Provincial Minister of the Felician Sisters of North America Sister Mary Christopher Moore, Madonna University President Michael Grandillo, 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 which will house the Felician Sisters of North America Heritage Center and Archives.
Blessing the building site, Archbishop Vigneron added his sprinkling of holy water to the blessings God was raining upon the area. He said, "Admittedly, it seems a bit superfluous, but I look at it as a way to cooperate with God's blessing."
President Grandillo described how the Welcome Center would enhance how the University recruits new students, celebrates alumni and donors, and preserves its Felician history, saying, "This building will be the front porch of the University - 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."
Sister Christopher 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."
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.
Designed by Ohio-based MKC architects, the contemporary structure was inspired by the Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi, in Italy. It will be built by J.S. Vig Construction, headquartered in Plymouth, MI.
To follow the progress of the Welcome Center and the Felician Sisters of North America Heritage Center and Archives development, click here.