St Francis Council #4401 of Our Lady Of Sorrows
23815 Power Rd, Farmington, MI 48336 Join Us
St Francis Council #4401 of Our Lady Of Sorrows
23815 Power Rd, Farmington, MI 48336 Join Us

About Our Council

St. Francis Council was founded in 1957. It’s named after St Francis of Assisi, who was a Saint for the deprived. The St. Francis Council works closely with Our Lady Of Sorrows parish in Farmington, providing funds for various projects while it’s members are active participants in their parish. Our council is actively involved in various local fundraising, charity, and community service projects.

Council Meetings

  • Council business meetings are normally held on the first Wednesday of each month at 7:30 pm at Our Lady Of Sorrows Catholic Church in the Church basement. All Knights haven taken the First Degree are invited and encouraged to attend. The business meeting is preceded by a Rosary at 7:00pm in the Church.
  • Officer meetings are held on the third Wednesday at 7:30 pm in the Church basement.
  • Some meetings are subject to time or location changes. Please check the calendar for updates.

We are Catholic men building a bridge back to faith. There is much good and necessary work to be done in this world, and that’s what Knights do every day.

As Catholic men, we are called to do more. The Knights of Columbus can help you answer that call. Your membership connects you with opportunities to make an impact in your community and gives you access to resources to help you grow deeper in faith and stay informed about the issues Catholics care about. You’ll also have exclusive access insurance and financial planning products to help you protect your family.

Our Principles

All the good works we do are informed by our four core principles:

Charity

Our Catholic faith teaches us to “Love thy neighbor as thyself.” Members of the Knights of Columbus show love for their neighbors by conducting food drives, donating to local soup kitchens and food pantries, and volunteering for special causes. Knights recognize that our mission, and our faith in God, compels us to action. There is no better way to experience love and compassion than by helping those in need, a call we answer every day.

Unity

Members of the Knights of Columbus all know that together we can accomplish far more than any of us could individually. So we stick together and we support one another. That doesn’t mean that we always agree or that there is never a difference of opinion. It does mean that, as a Knight of Columbus, you can count on the support and encouragement of your brother Knights as you work to make life better in your parish and community.

Fraternity

Venerable Michael J. McGivney founded the Knights of Columbus, in large part, to provide assistance to the widows and children left behind when the family breadwinner died – often prematurely. The Order’s top-rated insurance program continues to do this today, as do the good works of individual Knights, who gave more than 75.6 million service hours in 2017.

Patriotism

Members of the Knights of Columbus, be they Americans, Canadians, Mexicans, Cubans, Filipinos, Poles, or Dominicans, are patriotic citizens. We are proud of our devotion to God and country, and believe in standing up for both. Whether it’s in public or private, the Knights remind the world that Catholics support their nations and are amongst the greatest citizens.

Faith In Action

The Knights of Columbus offers men a place to lead their families and communities in faith and service and put their Faith into Action. Knights of Columbus members, parishes and families have the opportunity to make a meaningful difference through 32 Supreme Council-recommended programs.

Faith

Community

Family

Life

Our Council’s History

By PGK Dale Monette

In the early days of 1957, an invitation was extended to interested Catholic men in the Farmington-Southfield area to attend a meeting on February 6th for the purpose of establishing a Knights of Columbus council. This was the first of several meetings that were to be held in St. Michael’s parish hall in Southfield. Under the chairmanship of Bernard Swift and with the guidance of Fr. Sylvan Becker, O.F.M. and District Deputy James Lawlor, interest grew and it soon became evident that the birth of a new council was imminent.

These early efforts to organize our council parallel the meetings of the founding fathers of our order who first met in the years 1881 and 1882 in the basement of another parish church, St. Mary’s in New Haven, Connecticut. It was there that the first Knights of Columbus council was organized by a young assistant pastor, Fr. Michael J. McGivney, for the purpose of assisting the less fortunate of his flock.

On May 26, 1957, the organizational efforts of our early pioneers culminated with the granting of a charter signed by Supreme Knight Luke E. Hart to the Knights of Columbus Council No. 4401. The new council was named after its patron, St. Francis of Assisi. One hundred and eight new members were initiated in the Fr. Sylvan charter class held at the George Monaghan Council in Detroit. Arthur J. Droste was elected the first Grand Knight, a position he held for the next two years. Fr. Sylvan Becker, O.F.M. served as the first council chaplain and Thomas Roosen as the first District Deputy. The first general meeting of the newly chartered council was held on June 6, 1957 with sixty-nine members in attendance.

Early meeting places of the young council included St. Michael’s Parish Hall, Gramer’s Hall, Nor-West Lanes and Northwest Sportsmen’s Club, where the council met twice a month.

Our First Officers Front row, left to right: Tom Grady, GK Art Droste and Vern Rougeau. Standing, left to right: Bill McCraith, Bernard Swift, Tom Snitgen, Charles Zucal and Pat Malloy
St. Francis Charter Class May 26, 1957
Ground Breaking for New Clubhouse July 6, 1960
Presentation of Charter 1957

Almost immediately upon receiving the charter, this newly organized council set upon the task of finding suitable property on which to build a permanent clubhouse. At a regular meeting on November 6, 1957, the council voted to form a building corporation for the purpose of financing and building a clubhouse. Brother Thomas Maloney served as its first president and Brother Jame Mason as vice president. A building fund was initiated. Donations, pledges and certificate purchase were solicited from the membership. A fifty-fifty club was started and tickets were sold on a boat raffle that was held at a council picnic on August 31, 1957. This effort raised over two thousand dollars for the young council.

The council’s official motto – “The Council of Action and Progress” was adopted after a brainstorming session at a meeting on January 23, 1958. In February of the same year, the first edition of the “St. Francis Counselor” was published and mailed through the efforts of its first editor, Bro. Bob Olivier. The first issue credited Bro. Pat Malloy for naming the paper which continues today in its 25th year and is mailed to all council members each month.

Suitable property consisting of 5-3/4 acres on Middlebelt Rd. in Farmington Township was found and the purchase completed on May 12, 1958. That year the council held its first anniversary dinner dance on May 24th at the Monaghan Council with nearly 400 persons in attendance. To raise funds for the new clubhouse still on the horizon, a 1959 Plymouth was raffled at a council picnic on June 28th, 1959.

Membership continued to increase through the efforts of membership chairman Bro. Vic Vachon. Initiation classes of forty and fifty candidates were not uncommon and, in a little over a year, council membership increased to nearly 260 Catholic men.

Thomas J. Grady assumed the office of Grand Knight in July, 1959. In September, the first bowling league got underway at Nor-West Lanes. A resolution to proceed with the new building, at a cost not to exceed $70,000, was presented and approved by the membership at a meeting on May 4, 1960. Looking back, it seems incredible that the council, at that early stage, was in a position to embark on such a major project. But proceed, it did!

Under Grand Knight Nick Wyles, ground was broken on July 6, 1960 and construction began on the new clubhouse. The time and efforts of Bros. Jim Mason, Tom Maloney, Ed Tafelski and John Campbell were thanked in the August, 1960 issue of the “Counselor” for having the vision, fortitude and patience which lead to the reality of our own clubhouse. The building construction progressed on schedule at 21900 Middlebelt Road. With cement hardly dry, the first affair in the new quarters was a breakfast and initiation on December 4, 1960, followed by our first meeting here on December 7, 1960.

In February, 1961, the council mourned the loss of our first Grand Knight, Art Droste, at a much too early age. The memory of Art Droste, who contributed so much of his time and talents to this council, is indelibly recorded in the history of St. Francis Council.

Cecil Harris succeeded as Grand Knight in July, 1961. The year was a busy one with an ox roast at Lake Chemung in September and a Millionaire’s Party at the hall on October 7th. Plans were presented to the membership for landscaping and further completion of the building. The new parish of St. Alexander was established that summer and the hall was used for Sunday Masses by Father Joseph Ryder and parishioners.

Much finishing work remained to be done to the hall. Bro. Vic Vachon gave haircuts to the members in the basement to raise money so that paint and floor tiles could be purchased. Finally, enough heads were clipped – the paint and floor tiles were purchased and 22 members volunteered their time to paint basement walls and lay the floor tiles. Bros. Mario Sorrentino and David Yates headed this committee.

In 1962, Mario Sorrentino was elected to serve as Grand Knight and he would lead the council for the next two years. In October, former governor, George Romney visited the council as a guest speaker for our lecturer’s night. This was the year fish fries were offered every Friday night under the chairmanship of Bro. Joe Fallon. These Friday night fish fries were an important source of revenue and continued to attract more and more families who looked forward to these weekly affairs. The fish fries continued until the popularity of Friday night weddings made renting the hall a better and easier source of revenue.

Also, during this year, the first major renovation of the hall was undertaken when the need for more rental space dictated that the lounge be moved from the main floor to the lower level. DGK Joe Koehler headed this project and with the help of many members made a most successful improvement to our council home.

The lack of landscaping and a muddy parking lot presented the need to raise additional funds. In September,1963, a summer festival that included rides, games, a dinner and raffle of an Apache trailer was held on council grounds. It was a great success and before the winter months set in, we had a paved parking lot and cleaner shoes.

Joseph Koehler became our sixth Grand Knight in July, 1964. A very successful council picnic was held in August at the Ivory Polo Grounds and another festival was held in September. The tidy profit from these endeavors permitted the remodeling of the main hall when the block walls were covered with paneling and a suspended ceiling was installed. What would become an annual affair, the first canoe trip was in the summer of 1965.

For the first time, a member of our council received an appointment from the Michigan State Council when PGK Mario Sorrentino was appointed District Deputy.

Donald Jack became our next Grand Knight in July, 1966 and would continue to dedicate his time and zeal in that role for the next two years. St. Francis Council was selected by the State Council to host the State K of C golf tournament in September, 1966. Many members of the council were kept busy that summer readying the grounds, etc. for the influx of knights from throughout the state who would be visiting our council during this tournament. A review of historical documents verifies that two of the “highest” scores were recorded to be those of G.K. Don Jack and D.G.K. Dale Monette. This was the most successful tournament in the state’s seventeen year history.

In September, 1967, the council sponsored a Millionaire’s Party and Tuesday night bingos were started. In June, the formal dedication of St. Francis Athletic Field was made – the only lighted K of C ball diamond in the state – thanks to the efforts of Bro. Paul Korte, the Mike DeLeos and many other council members.

Dale Monette was elected Grand Knight and assumed the leadership role in July, 1968. The council, now in its eleventh year, was outgrowing its facilities and plans were made for the first addition to the building and construction soon began. This new addition would add two new offices, a reception room, much needed storage space and double the size of the lower level lounge area. Monthly birthday and anniversary parties were started in the lounge and before long the unfinished addition to the lounge became filled to capacity as the monthly parties became more popular.

In January, 1969, the first concelebrated Mass in the history of the council was held on the occasion of a district clergy night. It was a Mass for Vocations at which over 30 parishes were represented with over 200 in attendance including several priests, nuns and other religious who enjoyed the social that followed. In May, a workers party was held in the clubhouse for all members and wives who had worked on council projects.

In June, 1969, one of our members, James Wright was ordained to the priesthood. He was the first member of our council to be ordained.

Floyd Gardner became our ninth Grand Knight in July, 1969. That year the council was host for the state softball tournament held the first weekend in August. In January, the council held its famous Hawaiian party, which now had become an annual event. Our hall facilities were again donated to the Red Cross for their twice yearly blood bank.

In July, 1970, Dale Monette was elected and again assumed the office of Grand Knight. A reunion dinner dance for old and new members was held in November. It was a sell out affair and brought together many old and new faces. There was a roast beef dinner in October and a Three Hundred Club was started to raise much needed council funds. As part of the Christmas project that year, a check was presented to the St. Francis Home for Boys and a clothing drive was started for the home.

Robert Brown was elected as our next Grand knight in 1971. In October, the council was recipient of a beautification award presented by the township for landscaping improvements. In February, a paper drive was held to raise funds to purchase walking aids for a needy, crippled, 4- year old girl.

Our next Grand Knight was Frank Bernock who assumed office in July, 1972. K of C book covers were purchased that fall and distributed to the Catholic schools in the area. In February, 1973, the council was saddened by the death of its seventh Grand Knight, Donald Jack. It would seem the council could never again be the same without his presence.

Richard Kral served as Grand Knight the following year beginning in July, 1973. Our weekly bingo games continued every Tuesday evening and provided much needed funds for continuing the many charities being undertaken by the council.

George Jagitsch became our next Grand Knight in July, 1974 and would continue to lead the council for the next two years. In June, 1975, the council mourned the death of its ninth Grand knight, Floyd Gardner. In April, 1976, the council participated in the first annual “Tootsie Roll Drive” for the mentally retarded. Over $3,000 was collected in this first drive and was distributed to the various groups in the community working with the mentally retarded. The council has continued to participate in this drive each year since.

In May 1976, the council was recipient of the Star Council Award presented at the state convention. Our next Grand Knight in July 1976 was Joseph Phillips. The council was particularly honored to have PGK George Jagitsch appointed as District Deputy. He and District Warden, PGK Dale Monette, would serve the four councils in this district for the following four years. This year at Christmas time, the council helped send a 12- year old boy suffering with leukemia to Disneyland.

In July, 1977, PGK Robert Brown again assumed the office of Grand Knight. During this year, a second bingo was started on Wednesday mornings and was worked by the retirees of the council.

In July, 1978, Richard Bur became Grand Knight, a position he would hold for the next three years. After a stringent review of the council’s finances, consideration was given to expanding and remodeling the clubhouse facilities. Although costs for the desired expansion far exceeded our budget at this time, consideration was still to be given to a modernization program at some future date. At a general meeting, the council approved a resolution that would set aside $100 per month that would be used for any needed charity.

In July, 1980, David Samberg was appointed as our new District Deputy and PGK George Jagitsch received the appointment as State Director of Church Activities.

PGK Joseph Phillips again became Grand Knight in July 1981 and would lead us into our 25th year. Plans were already underway for two milestone events to be celebrated within the next year – our mortgage retirement and the council’s 25th anniversary. On November 6th, a grand dinner dance was held and the retired mortgage was ceremoniously burned by past grand knights and past building corporation presidents before 200 of our council family who were in attendance. For the first time since its beginning, the council was now completely free from debt.

11th Anniversary 1968 GK Dale Monette & PGK Donald Jack
12th Anniversary 1969 Left to right: State Treasurer Earl & Mary Smith, PGK Cecil & Margaret Harris, PGK Nick & Mitzi Wyles, GK Dale Monette, PGK Don & Lil Jack, PGK Joe & Peg Koehler
Corn Roast & the New Barbeque Sept. 6, 1970
25th Anniversary Celebration April 24, 1982