May 4, 2017

Venerable Father Solanus Casey to be Beatified

Solanus Casey

On May 4, 2017, it was announced that His Holiness Pope Francis had approved the beatification of Venerable Father Solanus Casey (1870 – 1957), a priest and professed member of the Capuchin Franciscan Order of St. Joseph, who served in Detroit, Michigan. A miracle attributed to Casey’s intercession paved the way for his beatification. Detroit's Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron, reflected on the decree:
The beatification of Father Solanus Casey is an incomparable grace for the Church in the Archdiocese of Detroit and for the whole community of Southeast Michigan. He is an inspiration to all us Catholics – and to all – of the power of grace to transform one’s life.
Venerable Solanus Casey was born, Bernie Francis Casey, in 1870, in Oak Grove Wisconsin. As a Franciscan Capuchin priest, he was known for his great faith, humility and role as spiritual counselor and intercessor. After holding numerous jobs, (the last of which he witnessed a woman’s brutal murder) he answered a call to the priesthood. At the age of 26, Casey joined the Order of Capuchin Franciscans. He struggled through seminary largely because most of his classes were conducted in German and Latin; languages with which he was unfamiliar.

On July 24th 1904, Casey was ordained a priest. Because he was judged to have performed insufficiently in his theological studies, Father Casey was ordained as a "sacerdos simplex" priest, (i.e. a priest who can't hear confessions or preach doctrinal sermons.) Following his ordination, Casey served in a succession of assignments around New York City, where he was known as an inspiring speaker.

In 1924, he was transferred to Saint Bonaventure Monastery in Detroit where he worked for 21 years. During this time, he served primarily as a receptionist or doorkeeper. Every Wednesday afternoon, he conducted well attended services for the sick. Father Casey was renowned for his great compassion and the amazing results of his consultations with visitors. In 1946, with failing health, he was transferred to Huntington, Indiana where he lived until 1956. The following year, while hospitalized in Detroit, he died at the age of 86. His last words were, "I give my soul to Jesus Christ." In 1987 his incorrupt body was exhumed and reinterred in a tomb inside the Father Solanus Casey Center at St. Bonaventure Monastery.

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