The 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 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.
Preparatory Academic Building
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.
Organizations, programs and policies of the Schools continued to change as needs in society and in the Church changed. Non-divinity students were again admitted to the college in 1969. Women and commuter students in the college and theologate soon followed. The Seminary developed new programs for lay ministries in addition to that of priesthood formation. The preparatory offered a day-school option to its traditional boarding school program in 1985.
Through extraordinary sacrifices of faculty, staff, alumni and enefactors, the Orchard Lake Schools have educated almost 18,000 students and 3,000 priests in its history. Their mission and accomplishments continue to be unique.
A virtual campus tour is available by visiting: http://www.orchardlakeschools.com/homepages/pages/mapOL.htm
SS. Cyril & Methodius Seminary is located on the beautiful 120-acre campus of
the Orchard Lake Schools on the eastern shore of Orchard Lake. The campus
is situated in the City of Orchard Lake Village, Michigan — 25 miles northwest
of downtown Detroit and five miles southwest of Pontiac in Oakland County.
Seminary Administration and Residence Hall
The Seminary building houses SS. Cyril & Methodius Seminary. It includes
administrative offices, private seminarian rooms, recreational and meeting
areas, a computer lab, and a resident student lounge, The Upper Room.
SS. Cyril & Methodius Chapel — A Gift of Stanley Bielawski Brent
A new Seminary Chapel was added to the Administration and Residence Hall and dedicated in August, 2000. It is central to the life of the Seminary. The images of God the Father and the Holy Spirit depicted in the floor to ceiling stained-glass windows are the work of a local artist, Margaret Cavanaugh. The crucifix which hangs from the cupola was designed by Michael Kapitan of Ann Arbor. The mosaic windows in the
adoration chapel are the work of Marian Owczarski, former Artist-in-
Residence of the Orchard Lake Schools. Stanley Bielawski Brent Chapel
Campus Academic Center
The Campus Academic Center includes classrooms, a computer
lab, vending machines, and lounge facilities for students.
The four-classroom addition, constructed in 1986, is primarily used by the
Seminary for instruction. A new digital ESL Laboratory was added in 2007 to
increase opportunities to practice listening comprehension, speaking skills,
and research on the Internet. The lab is also used for writing classes and Test
of English as a Foreign Language, (TOEFL) preparation.
Adam Cardinal Maida Alumni Library
The Alumni Memorial Library, established in 1956, expanded and renovated
in 2003, was dedicated to His Eminence Adam Cardinal Maida, a distinguished
Alumnus of the Orchard Lake Schools. Renamed the Adam Cardinal Maida Alumni
Library, the library supports the curriculum offered by the Seminary with printed, visual,
and electronic resources that are related to the academic disciplines.
Through the Internet, the library has access to a number of specialized
databases that provide many full text articles from academic
sources in a wide variety of subject areas. The library website contains
links toimportant theological resources. The library also has several
theological electronic resources, including the Catholic Periodical Literature Index, American Theological Library Association Index,
Church Documents, and Early Church Fathers. The Library’s web page
may be accessed by clicking on the "Maidia ALumni Library" button
above right. Adam Cardinal Maida Alumni Library
The Library’s total monographic collection numbers over 96,000 volumes, with about 1,500 titles added annually. The Library receives over 150 current subscriptions to periodicals and newspapers. The Library's holdings include specialized collections in theology, philosophy and Polish language and culture. Slides, compact discs, audio and video tapes, DVDs are also available in the Library. The Library's Polish language collection of over 19,000 volumes covering a diversity of subjects is one of the largest in the country and contains unique titles.
The Library’s Rare Book Room houses Polish-language books published before 1946, and books in other languages which are considered Rare because of age, subject matter, fragility, or provenance. Books in Polish published after World War II are part of our regular circulating collection. The Rare Book collection numbers about 15,000 books, to which new volumes are continually being added, and includes works dating as far back as the 16th century. Besides Polish items, the collection is especially strong in theology.
The Library has Wi-Fi accessibility throughout the first floor. All eligible students, staff, alumni and guests are welcome to use the Reference computers.
The Ladies Auxiliary Dining Hall
The campus dining facility, completed in 1966, provides food service for
seminarians, students, faculty, and staff in five dining rooms.
This distinctive one-story military structure of red brick serves as the campus
art gallery. It regularly features exhibits of Polish and Polish American art as
well as lectures and concerts.
Shrine Chapel of Our Lady of Orchard Lake
Located at the heart of the campus, the Shrine Chapel was built in 1963.
Employing contemporary architectural lines, its imposing mahogany beams
soar over 50 feet and rest on fieldstone buttresses. The statue of Our Lady of
Orchard Lake enthroned on its facade is comprised of 10,000 pieces of copper
plate and weighs more than 3,000 pounds. The Shrine Chapel seats 750 and
includes six private chapels.
Marian Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes
From its construction in 1941, the Grotto has become a popular shrine for
thousands of visitors. At the grotto, facing Orchard Lake amid lovely floral
designs, the rosary is prayed daily during the months of May and October. Crucifix in the Shrine Chapel
Orchard Lake Schools Administration Building
The offices of the Chancellor, the Business Manager, the Comptroller,
Community Relations, Advancement, and Information Technology are located
in the Administration Building.
Father Andrew Wotta Center
In addition to classrooms and offices for St. Mary’s Preparatory, the Fr. Andrew
Wotta Center, an activities building, houses the Polish Heritage Room and the
Polish Historical Panorama, which was made possible through the generosity
of the late Mr. Leo Obloy, a former Trustee of the Seminary.
Father John Rakoczy Gymnasium
The campus auditorium-gymnasium provides indoor facilities for intramural
soccer, basketball, volleyball, and a weight room. The interior was renovated
in 1995 through the generosity of Patrick Kerzic, member of the Board of
Regents. The Rakoczy Gymnasium was dedicated to the memory of Rev. John
Rakoczy, a former student and faculty member, in 1996.
St. Mary’s Athletic Center and Dombrowski Fieldhouse
A contemporary facility with seating capacity for 1,000 spectators was
expanded in 2003 to include an NHL-sized ice arena, fitness center, banquet
facility, and the fieldhouse. The Fieldhouse is the gift of St. Mary’s Preparatory
Alumnus and former member of the Orchard Lake Schools Board of Regents,
Robert Dombrowski (P ‘51).
St. Mary’s Bookstore
The bookstore stocks textbooks for seminary and preparatory school classes. It also carries school supplies, religious articles, greeting cards, and some drink and snack items. Weekday hours are 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. During the first week of college classes each semester, the bookstore has extended hours, remaining open until 7:00 p.m. Lay students are advised to purchase textbooks when they register for classes or as early as possible at the beginning of a semester. Un-purchased textbooks are typically returned to publishers after the first month of a semester, so students are advised not to delay purchasing books, which may be used later in their coursework. For more information call the bookstore at: 248-683-0321.