Welcome to Orphans Asylum, by Mike Krecioch. The author recounts his experiences while living in a North Chicago Catholic orphanage with his two siblings, despite the fact that both parents are alive. Why did they end up in a large orphanage? That’s the central issue of the story. The reader will be transported back to the early 1950s to experience orphanage life with all the smells, sounds, and tastes. What was it truly like to live within the confines of a Catholic orphanage? What were the daily routines? Were there reprimands? Travel back to another time and place that truly doesn’t exist anymore. There’s no holding back on what life offered and the author tells the story with grace and honesty.
The name of this institution was Saint Hedwig Orphanage (1911-1961), located in Niles, Illinois. Over the years it was home to more than seven thousand children, predominantly Polish. Some were true orphans while most were children of broken homes.
St. Hedwig’s operated under the direction of a monsignor with the task of parenting and educating the children entrusted to Felician Sisters.
St. Hedwig’s Orphanage closed in 1959. Remaining children were transferred to other orphanages. Today, the existing site is comprised of modern, multi-family condominiums.
Orphan’s Asylum is a must-read for anyone who would like to know about the past and how orphans were housed and treated.
Over the years, many of the ex-residents and their families have kept in touch through a newsletter produced by St. Hedwig alumni with a publication entitled The Hedwigian II. This newsletter is published three times a year and has linked several families to the author where he has helped resolve many questions. More than a few relationships have evolved between the author and family members creating a very special bond.
Mike, a U.S. Army veteran, left his hometown of Chicago and ultimately moved to Los Angeles where he served twenty-eight years with the Los Angeles Police Department. He promoted and performed a myriad of assignments, including uniformed and vice field operations. Mike honorably retired in June 1990.
After the Northridge Earthquake in 1994, Mike and his wife moved from California to Florida. Starting as a literacy tutor, he became president of the local literacy council, mentored high school students in Take Stock in Children program, and coordinated social community tennis. Mike was also a member of Pro Literacy, Friends of the Library, Advocates of Citizens with Disabilities, local Rotary Club and the Experimental Aircraft Association.
The Krecioch family, including a therapy dog and a cat, relocated to the beautiful Blue Ridge mountains of Western North Carolina, Asheville, NC which he now calls home. Mike’s been a Guardian ad Litem and currently is a member of the Rotary Club of Asheville, the Los Angeles Police Protective League, and the Western North Carolina Writer’s Guild. Mike continues to be active in local community tennis.
Mike is the author to a book entitled, Convict Lake: Behind the Badge, that describes police work during the height of the1960s hippie movement up to the present day.
For information regarding Mike Krecioch’s books, visit his website at: https://www.michaelkrecioch.com/