The Capuchin monk and priest Solanus Casey, friend of the poor and sick, fool for Christ, healer, prophet, and wonderworker (thaumaturgus), was beatified yesterday at Ford Field in Detroit, with over 60,000 of the faithful in attendance.
He was born in Milwaukee. He wanted to become a priest, but failed classes in the seminary because they were taught in Latin and German. He had many blows and strokes of bad luck, but persisted in serving God and in not fighting back against unfair treatment of himself. (Other people’s treatment was another story.)
After being accepted as a Capuchin, he was stationed in his home city, Detroit, Brooklyn, St. Meinrad’s in Indiana, and many other places. Everywhere he went, his simple piety and actions, and his gentle accepting love for people being nasty to him, tended to win the hearts of those in trouble or powerless, while inexplicably torquing off a lot of his brothers and superiors.
He was given the job of doorman at most of the Capuchin houses – a simple job without prestige, but which required being on duty at all hours to give alms and help. When it became known that his prayers often were answered by miraculous healings and divine favors, opinion grew more divided. He was shipped all over the place, often to get rid of crowds of people coming to see him.
The late Father Benedict Groeschel, as a novice Capuchin, was fascinated by him. He once saw him praying in the chapel in the middle of the night, obviously in a state of ecstasy. Many of the Capuchins had similar stories, as it was gradually realized that they had a great contemplative living among them.
Solanus Casey died in 1957, but he is a living presence among the faithful of Detroit and elsewhere. People still rely on his help.
So it’s wonderful to have him raised to the altars now.
UPDATE: It wasn’t at Tiger Stadium. It was at Ford Field, where the Detroit Lions play.