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What Unites the O


hy are we here? What unifies our Orchard Lake family? How do we help each other

grow? We are called here to learn more about our life's mission and purpose, to stand

on the shoulders of giants who came before us.

From pre-school to postgraduate students, from 4-year-old students at our Dabrowski

School to teenage Prep students to seminarians and lay students to retirees doing

research on their heritage, visiting a museum or coming to Mass, we come here to be

reminded of who we are.

"To be called means to know why one lives, why one exists," St. John Paul II said in his

first Orchard Lake Homily, the morning after he was declared an honorary alumnus

and "the father of Orchard Lake."

Every individual drawn here is completely unique, arriving from every continent.

Zoom out to look at the bigger picture, and you'll quickly see we are all brothers and sisters in a Catholic (universal)

place, that people are people.

Boys and young men come here and learn the essential skills needed to become men, fathers and leaders. Each

brings his own unique gift to the table, filling a specific niche. Yet, we all come together like pieces of a puzzle.

Together, the individual pieces form one beautiful, interconnected picture. Consider how each of these fits into the

mosaic of the Orchard Lake family:

Escaping an enslaved nation to find freedom.

In January 1863, a 20-year-old Polish seminarian led a group of

rebels fighting their Russian occupiers. They fought until it was obvious they were heavily outnumbered, 2,000

to 50. They eventually ran and the seminarian found himself in a house, being pursued by troops. A “niche” in a

wall provided a hiding space and the soldiers ran past. He considered finding this niche to be Divine Providence.

Perhaps God had a special plan for him after all?


That young seminarian, Joseph Dabrowski, now had to escape Poland so he fled to Rome to become a

priest. He eventually came to America and wound up in Detroit where he founded our institution in 1885. Father

Dabrowski is now known as the founder of Polish American education.

Joe Serwach

Executive Director

Institutional Advancement

Orchard Lake Schools