Franciscan Spirit Blog

Seven Days with Solanus Casey: A Creative Spirituality

As I look back now, I realize how fortunate I was to be in the presence of Fr. Solanus. I could see the patience and compassion with which he greeted each person who came seeking help for body or soul.

There were two chairs in front of his desk, and he would invite visitors to sit down, putting them at ease. After listening to each one’s story of sickness or pain, he would speak gently of God and God’s great mercy and goodness, sharing his own faith and trust. In this way he would spark the flame of faith and hope in the other person, and then wonderful graces and cures would come about.

Usually Solanus spoke very quietly, but if he needed to emphasize a point his voice might be heard around the room. I remember a time when he exclaimed very distinctly to a worried person, “Don’t be anxious about anything!”

Children always received special attention. Ear infections and mastoid conditions were common in those days without antibiotics, and we have many reports of these being cured. Solanus kept candy in the desk drawer and would offer the children a piece to win their confidence.

One day a worried mother brought in her little girl, who had diabetes. She asked Fr. Solanus’ prayers for the child, and right away he assured her that she would recover. The mother was aghast when he offered the girl a little piece of candy. It did not hurt the child, and a few days later the mother reported that the diabetes had disappeared.

Other times Fr. Solanus seemed to know if a cure would not come about. A little girl, very seriously sick, was brought in by her parents one evening. They told Solanus about her grave illness, asking prayers for her recovery. He listened quietly and then gently said to them, “You know, the Dear Lord wants little angels for saints, too.” And with that he kindly disposed them to accept the child’s approaching death with peaceful resignation.

He usually urged people to be grateful to God for all things, even sufferings. On one occasion he said, “When Jesus sends crosses and trials into our life, He is inviting us to help Him save the world.”

Blessed Solanus Casey was a simple friar but he had creative ways of expressing his faith. Frank Jasper, OFM, explains.

His counsel often included a plea for more frequent reception of the sacraments. Devotion to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and the holy rosary of Our Lady he generally suggested, devotions that he practiced with great fervor himself.

With the promise of his prayers and a little card attesting to enrollment in the Seraphic Mass Association, Solanus would then offer a blessing. Standing—a tall, thin, almost gaunt figure—he would place his hands with their crooked arthritic fingers on the head of the person and softly pray. Sometimes he might playfully tap the person on the head or cheek.

A bright smile and twinkling blue eyes gave sparkle to the warm friendly gaze that made everyone feel he was a good friend.

One day in 1935, some friends came from Windsor, Ontario, bringing Br. André Bessette of Montreal (now Saint) to meet Solanus. After a short conversation, Br. André knelt down and asked Fr. Solanus for his blessing. Solanus stood up and blessed André, and then Solanus knelt down and asked André for his blessing.

A young priest of the Detroit archdiocese used to stop in regularly just to ask Solanus for his blessing. Solanus would graciously comply, and then he would kneel and ask Father for his blessing. I think this gave a powerful example of humility to the people waiting in the office. Many people came to see him regularly, bringing their friends or dear ones who needed healing. Thus, his fame spread from one person to another, until his name was a household word all around Detroit.

People knew that if he prayed for them, things would turn out for the better.

“We do well to remember how very short, after all, it is till our suffering and our time of merit, too, will be over.
Let us offer everything, therefore, to the divine Spouse of our souls,
that He may accept it as helping Him to save immortal souls—our own included.”

Blessed Solanus Casey—

A book about Blessed Solanus Casey


1 thought on “Seven Days with Solanus Casey: A Creative Spirituality”

  1. Those present when Andre Bessette and Solanus Casey met were truly in the midst of profound holiness. I wonder if they realized it at the time. How fortunate to have been there.

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