Open Letter to Mrs. Anna Bankowska, President of KPA, MI

Dear Pani Bankowski,

I am writing to you as a leader in the Polish American community, and specifically, as a member of the Board of Regents at Orchard Lake. Can you request a meeting with the Steering Committee members, and represent our requests for positive change? It is my understanding that this key body directs the path of the entire group that comprises the Orchard Lake territory.

At the recent meeting at Orchard Lake, there was an acknowledgment that more members of the Polish American community must be part of the decision making process, such as the board of the Polish Mission, the Board of Regents (including and especially the Steering Committee of the Board of Regents). Madam President, surely there is a way in which this may occur, with time and proper strategy.

We saw strong interest in the continuation of the seminary, both by the seminarians, and the Polish community. Is there a possibility that the seminary can be rebuilt, with strong moral and spiritual values, we have asked?

There is a strong need for Polish American leadership. We are faced with the challenge of preserving our archival collections in the most advisable, professional manner. We heard about practical changes to make the accounting process more transparent. Henrietta Nowakowski pointed out, the OLS is a non-profit organization dependent upon donations, and as such, should be accountable to the public regarding donations, expenditures, and financial objectives.

Our goals for change will take many committed people, working with renewed energy and dedication, to preserve our history and language. Preserving our Polish identity and culture has never been easy. Throughout history, courage and perseverance have been required in this lifelong work. We have experienced corruption in our leadership, and it is time for renewal in the best possible ways.

After the meeting, still discussing outside, I was advised by a retired professional accountant (30 yrs. with the IRS), that the Steering Committee is the key group to contact regarding specific requests. As a Regent, you are surely in a position to request a meeting with the Steering Committee, to present the practical requests and recommendations for positive change:

1. If the accounting department is not able to show the 2.5 million noted by Dr. Alicja Karlic, along with the 4.5 million endowments for the education of seminarians, discussed by Mr. Majcher, then a forensic audit, not a general audit, may help bring us back into accountability (recommendation of a man at my table, who said he has worked for the IRS 30 years). This would show all donations and endowments with corresponding expenditures over at least the last 5 years or more if needed. Whoever is in charge of accounting at OLS could make a presentation before this same group that met last Sunday, together with handouts on paper.

2. Our accounting professional from Chicago pointed out the recommended practice of accounting and publishing all donations and expenditures for the various separate departments (Seminary, Orchard Lake Schools, etc.)

Obviously, the professional head of the accounting department, not Mr. Majcher must speak to us about this possibility or eventuality.

3. The use of the endowment Mr. Joseph Majcher noted, designated for the education of seminarians, is earning considerable interest, a portion of which could fund the personal outreach to Poland’s dioceses, encouraging young men to come to Orchard Lake for seminary studies. We will need personal outreach (together with OUR encouragement to parishes in Poland), to overcome the negative publicity our seminary has received in the Polish and our American press, and build renewed confidence in the seminary’s moral and spiritual strength. What other persons must be influenced this way?

The recruitment role was previously filled by Father Flis, deceased. This endowment could also be used to help fund the professor of systematic theology position that Father Ludwik Madej, deceased, last filled for many years. Surely, we cannot educate seminarians without the work of such resource people who are committed to the recruitment and education of seminarians. I approached Mr. Majcher with this idea, and he did not refute it. What other persons may act in this regard, through a decision?

Above are some of the distinct points and recommendations I wished to make. Surely, we can strengthen our resolve and communication with the best leadership, to work for positive change in preserving our identity and heritage? Is it not time for a change?

What concrete improvements do you see may occur at OLS with our strategizing and work?

Sincerely,

Bozena Bienias

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