HISTORY OF THE ST. VINCENT AND SARAH FISHER CENTER
The origin of the Center dates back to 1844 when the Daughters of Charity first came to Detroit and opened the St. Vincent Academy, a kindergarten for orphaned children, with many prayers and very little money. They started with just $8.50 in their pockets and a sincere desire to improve the lives of suffering children, the sick and the destitute. The following is chronology related to the Center since that time:
1844 St. Vincent’s Academy was Founded by the Daughters of Charity in Detroit.
1845 Founded two hospitals – St. Vincent’s (1845-1850) and St. Mary’s (1850-1949).
1851 Founded St. Vincent’s Orphan Asylum which operated until 1948.
1859 Founded Trinity School which operated until 1874.
1860 Founded Michigan State Retreat for the Insane, later named St. Joseph’s Retreat, which operated until 1962.
1869 Founded The House of Providence for unwed mothers which operated until 1923.
1910 The House of Providence was incorporated in 1922 as Providence Hospital. The hospital housed programs for unwed mothers and their children, and moved to Southfield in 1965.
1923 The Farmington Hills site of the Center was acquired and Villa Marillac was founded to house children.
1929 The Sarah Fisher family built the Center facility in Farmington Hills to house the children. Ten cottages, designed to house 24 children, a Chapel and a playroom (where the stained glass windows were originally installed). By 1934, there were 200 children enrolled (ages 2 to 6) and a nursery school was added.
1930- 1947 Programs were maintained for unwed mothers and their infants at Providence Hospital, children ages two to six at the Sarah Fisher Home for Children, and youngsters ages seven through eighteen at Saint Vincent’s Orphanage.
1948 St. Vincent’s merges with Sarah Fisher Home.
1950 Infants moved from Providence Hospital to Farmington Hills.
1951 House of Providence changes name to Marillac Villa, gives up responsibility for children, maintains responsibility for unwed mothers. St. Vincent and Sarah Fisher Home incorporates.
1953 Unwed mothers leave Providence Hospital and move into Marillac Hall in Farmington Hills.
1972 Michigan ends institutional care for infants and preschoolers. The children were removed from the Home and placed in foster care homes. A separate day care program opened on the existing grounds.
1979 St. Vincent and Sarah Fisher Center incorporates with responsibility for Marillac Hall occupied by unwed mothers as well as children. The residents of Marillac Hall moved to Laboure Hall located on the St. Vincent and Sarah Fisher Center Campus.
1983 Foster Care Program established to provide family placements in private homes for children who did not need residential care at the Center.
1991 Marillac Hall residential program for pregnant young women was discontinued and Marillac Outreach Services was established to provide counseling and referral services to young women in their homes.
1993 The Center began offering adoption services for children with special needs.
1994 Post adoption support services implemented.
1995 Respite program developed for Community Mental Health clients.
1995 The Young Fatherhood Program, opens to support teen dads in the metro-Detroit area.
1996 Crisis Stabilization Unit opened to reduce psychiatric hospitalizations.
1998 Jendayi House, a group home for young mothers ages 18-21, opens in Detroit.
2004 Daughters of Charity transfer authority of the Center to Corporate Board.
2005 Subsidizing of residential facility is eliminated, due to changes in national policy and the economy. The Farmington Hills campus is closed and the organization reorganized and developed new services, to continue to fulfill its mission of helping others.
2006 St. Vincent and Sarah Fisher Center returned to its roots and relocated back to Detroit, where it launched free children’s and adult educational programs and services.
2011 The programs were expanded, providing more than just tutoring: the adult program expanded to four campuses and added a speaker series, added evening classes and developed a partner network to provide students with resources for continuing education and employment search support. The children’s program expanded to include field trips and additional subjects, as well as a computer lab and resources for parents.
2014 Children’s Wing opened, doubling the capacity for both the Children and Adult programs and Adult Computer Lab was opened.