In 1883, five Sisters of the Good Shepherd arrived in downtown Detroit to the Ward Mansion on Fort Street to establish their first home. The industrial revolution left thousands of young girls and women behind, most of them living and working in desperate conditions. By the turn of the century, 33 Sisters were caring for more than 200 girls and young women.
Over the next 30 years, the House of the Good Shepherd continued to expand services, but quickly outgrew their facilities. The Ford family was aware of the work the Sisters were doing and presented a solution to their space issues. They deeded the Sisters 50 acres of land on West Warren Avenue in Dearborn Heights for $1 and immediately began taking steps to build residence halls, a school, a powerhouse, and an auditorium/ gymnasium.
On December 8, 1942, the House of the Good Shepherd officially reopened with the new name, Vista Maria.
The compassion, kindness and strength that those pioneer nuns showed 136 years ago serve as the foundation for what has grown into Vista Maria.