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Blessed Solanus Casey: Model of Mercy

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By Fr. Joseph, MIC (Nov 18, 2017)
Hear Fr. Chris Alar, MIC ("Fr. Joseph, MIC"), in a special edition of "Models of Mercy" in honor of the beatification of Fr. Solanus Casey, OFM.



He was not allowed to hear confessions or preach formally. But Fr. Solanus Casey, OFM, became one of the most popular American priests of the 20th century.

Bernard Casey was born in 1870 to poor Irish farmers in Oak Grove, Wisconsin. After leaving the family farm, he worked as a street car conductor in Superior, Wisconsin.

One day while at work, he witnessed a brutal murder. Seeing this violence, he reevaluated his life and followed a call to the priesthood.

At age 21, he entered the diocesan seminary but struggled academically. At age 31, he joined the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin in Detroit, Michigan, my hometown, taking the name Solanus.

In 1904, he was ordained a Capuchin priest. Due to his poor academic record, he served as a simplex priest. That is, he was unable to hear confessions or preach doctrinal sermons. He spent most of his religious life as a humble doorman, 14 years in New York and 30 years in Detroit.

In his soft, wispy voice, he gave sage counsel to the dozens and dozens of people who waited in line every day just to speak with him. He never turned anyone away. He gained a reputation for his gift of healing.

Father Solanus Casey also had great compassion for the poor and co-founded Detroit's Capuchin Soup Kitchen, which still exists today.

Father Casey died in 1957 at the age of 86. During his final illness, he said, "I'm offering my sufferings that all might be one. If only I could see the conversion of the whole world."

In fact, 20,000 people were so moved that they attended his funeral, which is still one of the largest funerals ever held in the history of Detroit.

His beatification was held in Detroit on Nov. 18, 2017. Blessed Solanus Casey, pray for us!


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