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Wining and dining will benefit Solanus Casey Center

By: Terry Oparka | Troy Times | Published March 9, 2016

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The 12th annual Solanus Casey fundraising event’s theme, “nourishing the soul,” is what Father Solanus Casey did when he served at the St. Bonaventure Monastery in Detroit, according to the Capuchins.

Nourishing the Soul — scheduled for 6 p.m. March 19 at Petruzzello’s Banquet and Conference Center in Troy — will benefit the Solanus Casey Center, a Capuchin Franciscan ministry located at 1780 Mount Elliott St. in Detroit.

According to the center’s website, “Inspired by the life and example of our brother, Venerable Solanus Casey, this center strives to be a place of pilgrimage, healing, reconciliation and peace.

“Father Solanus Casey spoke in a soft and quiet voice to all who came to him for help. And he prayed. Some say his prayers cured illness. All say his serenity and counsel gave them peace.

“He was born into a family with simple faith. He maintained that simple faith all his years. In everything, Father Solanus took God’s word to heart. He believed every prayer is answered in God’s own way.”

The Father Solanus Guild, a Capuchin ministry dedicated to sharing the holiness of Casey, reports that many have asked Casey for his prayers as an intercessor to God, and that those prayers have been answered, often in dramatic ways. Pope John Paul II declared him “venerable” in 1995. The guild says “one miraculous cure approved by the Vatican to the prayers of venerable Solanus will advance the cause to beatification and the title of “blessed.” Another approved miracle after that will advance the cause finally to sainthood.”

Further, the guild states that Casey spent his life in the service of people. “As porter of the Detroit monastery door, he met thousands of people from every age and walk of life. He earned recognition as ‘The Doorkeeper.’ He was always ready to listen to anyone at any time, day or night, and to encourage everyone to thank God ahead of time.”

Casey was born Bernard Francis Casey in 1870 on a farm in Wisconsin, the sixth child born to Irish immigrant parents, according to the guild. He left his family farm and worked in Wisconsin and Minnesota in logging, as a hospital orderly, as a streetcar operator and as a prison guard before he entered the seminary in Milwaukee at age 21 to study for the priesthood. He ranked in the lower part of his class, and superiors recommended that his duties be restricted. He could say Mass but not preach at length from the pulpit, and he was only allowed to hear confessions in cases of emergency.

He worked in Harlem and Yonkers, New York, and was assigned to St. Bonaventure Monastery in Detroit where he worked as doorkeeper for 20 years.

“Father Solanus became known and loved for his virtues and willingness to listen to anyone, anytime,” Capuchin Friar Gerry Pehler, Solanus Casey Center director, said in a prepared statement. “He truly nourished people spiritually. The Solanus Casey Center’s goal is to continue that spirit. We want people to find peace as they visit the center that is devoted to Father Solanus’ spirit and holiness. The Solanus Center truly is a sacred space filled with God’s grace.”

“Thousands come from all over the world each year,” said Angela Morris, administrator for the Solanus Casey Center. “It’s truly a spiritual oasis when people come to the center. We nourish their soul.”

This year’s event will feature a wine pull for a $25 donation. Morris explained that the wine will range in cost from $25 up to $100.

Nourishing the Soul will be held at 6 p.m. March 19 at Petruzzello’s, 6950 Rochester Road, and will feature a wine tasting reception with appetizers, a sit-down dinner with wine selections, and silent and live auctions. Raffle tickets are available for a cost of $10. The grand prize is $2,500 and people need not be present to win. The cost to attend the event is $95 per person and includes valet parking. Charlie Langton, of FOX 2 TV, will emcee the event. Cocktail attire is recommended and attendees must be at least 21 years old. Purchase tickets in advance by calling (313) 579-2100, ext. 153, or purchase tickets online at