On December 12th, the 3rd through 8th graders travelled to Detroit to visit the relics of the city’s beloved Capuchin friar, Solanus Casey.
St. Joseph's Academy's 3rd through 8th grades, plus the 9th grade co-op students, went on a field trip to the Solanus Casey Center on Tuesday, Dec. 12, in order to venerate Father Solanus Casey. He was recently beatified, and is now Blessed Solanus Casey. When they arrived they first watched a movie about his life. Then they went on a tour of the Center. The center had a small museum, which had many things that Fr. Solanus Casey used. It had a bedroom and it had the exact same door that he used and put his hand on. Then they went into the church which had three beautiful altars built by one man in his garage. The altars had no nails or glue, but all went together like giant puzzles. After the tour, they ate lunch and then did a scavenger hunt. The students were able to place some holy cards and other objects on some of Blessed Solanus's personal items, making them third-class relics. They really appreciated the chance to visit a local saint.
Fr. Casey, who died in 1957 at the age of 86, was a Wisconsin native, the son of Irish immigrants. Because of academic difficulties in his seminary classes (taught almost exclusively in German), he was ordained a "simplex priest" in 1904. This meant he was denied the priestly faculties of preaching homilies and hearing confessions. Consequently, his assignments included mostly simple jobs: serving as the monastery doorkeeper, training altar boys, and directing the Ladies Altar Society.
Despite these restrictions, Solanus Casey served Our Lord with heroic generosity as a simple doorkeeper at his Detroit Capuchin monastery. Visitors often found that when Casey prayed for their intentions, prayers were answered with amazing frequency. As the years went by, healings were reported, dangerous surgeries averted, alienated people mysteriously reconciled. In addition, during the Great Depression when the automobile factories closed, Fr. Casey helped to start the Capuchin Soup Kitchen which still functions today, feeding the poor in Detroit. Now, 60 years after his death, the Catholic Church beatified Solanus Casey on November 18th, 2017 in a ceremony at Ford Field.
Although not present at the beatification ceremony, St. Joseph’s students were grateful to learn about this man of God and to have the opportunity to view his relics.