Father Solanus Casey beatified by Catholic Church

By: Brendan Losinski | Advertiser Times | Published May 11, 2017

 Father Solanus Casey, a Franciscan monk and an icon in the metro Detroit community, was announced to be beatified by the Roman Catholic Church on May 4. This is a step on the path to sainthood.

Father Solanus Casey, a Franciscan monk and an icon in the metro Detroit community, was announced to be beatified by the Roman Catholic Church on May 4. This is a step on the path to sainthood.

Photo provided by Colleen Crane

DETROIT — On May 4, Pope Francis in Rome announced that Father Solanus Casey, the Franciscan monk and Detroit-area icon, would be beatified by the Roman Catholic Church.

Beatification marks a critical step on the road to sainthood, and the person involved is called “blessed” by God. It is a rare honor bestowed by the church, as it requires a miracle to be attributed to the individual.

“First of all, a servant of God has their life looked at, and it is one of goodness, kindness and virtue,” explained Father David Preuss, the director of the Solanus Casey Center in Detroit. “Once that is established, we look closer at everything he had written and everything we can learn about his life. At that point, they are declared venerable. After that, people look to see if he continues to be an intercessor for us in his heavenly state, so we wait until we see a sign from God that shows he is there with God and still in his service. What we have confirmed with beatification is that there is a miracle with no scientific explanation, and there is reason to say that it was through Father Solanus’ intercession. The miracle in this case was a long-standing illness being cured while the woman in question prayed at Father Solanus’ tomb, and a series of doctors had no explanation for how it could have happened.”

The process of declaring Casey a full saint would occur only after confirmation of a second miracle attributed to his involvement.

“Canonization (sainthood) says he is not a ‘local saint,’ but someone honored by the church throughout the world,” said Preuss. “We can come pray publicly and pray for his intercession. He is at this point now considered blessed, will now have a feast day celebrated in the United States. If there is a second miracle, he will have Masses celebrating him as a saint throughout the world.”

Casey has long held a special place in the hearts of many Detroit-area residents. His work with the poor and the distressed of the city endeared him to many, as well as his kindness and welcoming attitude until his death July 31, 1957.

“Detroit then, as now, was a troubled place,” said Preuss. “People came with their troubles, he listened to them, he prayed with them, he blessed them, and they left comforted and in some ways healed. This priest who was never given permission to publicly preach accepted being the receptionist and did it with great care, and people responded to his kindness and the power of his prayer.”

Since Casey’s death, there has been a popular push to proclaim Casey a saint of the Roman Catholic Church. The Archdiocese of Detroit expressed its joy and pride upon receiving the news.

“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,” stated Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron, head of the Archdiocese of Detroit, in a press release. “He is an inspiration to all us Catholics — and to all — of the power of grace to transform one’s life.”

A formal ceremony will take place in the coming months to celebrate the momentous occasion and recognize Casey.

“The official naming him of being ‘blessed’ will include a representative of the pope coming with the Archbishop Allen Vigneron at a ceremony that will take place in Detroit in late fall,” said Preuss.

Preuss hopes this development will encourage the public to look at the life of Casey and find in him an example for Christian living.

“I hope people look to Father Solanus and see the importance of the interplay between acts of charity and prayer,” he said. “It’s not by chance that he co-founded the soup kitchen and was known as a man of powerful prayer. Service leads to prayer and prayer leads to service.”