Fr.Solanus Casey spoke in a soft and quiet voice to all who came to him for help. Many say his prayers cured illness. All say his serenity and counsel gave them peace. Fr. Solanus was born into a large Irish family and grew up in rural Wisconsin. He learned his simple trust in God’s goodness from his family. He believed that every prayer would be answered in God’s own way. So convinced was Fr. Solanus of God’s providential care that he encouraged everyone to “Thank God ahead of time.”
Fr. Solanus joined the Capuchins on Christmas Eve in 1896 after being inspired by the Blessed Mother. His early assignments took him to Yonkers, New York where he worked as the sacristan and doorkeeper at Sacred Heart Parish from 1904 to 1918 and then to Our Lady of Sorrows in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, where he served from 1918 to 1921. Later, he was sent to St. Bonaventure Monastery in Detroit, Michigan where once again he served as porter from 1924 to 1945.
People flocked to him, trusting that he would help them find healing and peace. He listened to their troubles and showed them how God was at work in their lives. He brought everyone’s difficulties and sufferings to the Lord in prayer. While in Detroit at the start of the Great Depression, Fr. Solanus, along with Fr. Herman Buss and the Secular Franciscans, established the Capuchin Soup Kitchen in response to the many people who were coming to St. Bonaventure Monastery looking for a meal. The Capuchin friars still serve in this ministry today providing countless meals to those in need.
At age 76, Fr. Solanus began his retirement at the Capuchin novitiate in Huntington, Indiana. After ten years of increasing ill health, Fr. Solanus returned to Detroit to receive medical care. On July 31, 1957, after being near death for several days, Fr. Solanus sat up and uttered his final words, “I give my soul to Jesus Christ.”
Sixty years later, on November 18, 2017 a tremendous gathering took place across New York, Detroit, and in Rome as the Church proclaimed Fr. Solanus one of the blessed. Over 200 Capuchin friars were among the 60,000 faithful who participated in the beatification Mass at Ford Field in Detroit on that long awaited day. Cardinal Angelo Amato, prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, celebrated the Mass with 35 bishops and 400 priests and deacons. Three hundred members of the Casey family were in attendances.
It was plain to all that the friar with the soft and quiet voice still proclaims a message for the world to hear.
(Excerpts taken from the Capuchin Journey and the Solanus Casey Center publications)