Fr. Solanus Casey was born Bernard Francis Casey to Irish immigrants in Oak Grove, WI on November 25, 1875. From a young age, Casey showed how strong he was spiritually. He allowed difficult moments throughout his young life to bring him closer to God: contracting a disease which permanently damaged his voice, having an engagement broken off and witnessing a murder while he worked as a prison guard.
Soon after these occurrences, Casey decided to devote his life to God as a priest. For years he struggled with his studies in seminary until he was told he would be better off joining a religious order.
After praying before a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Casey heard a voice telling him to “go to Detroit”. He left Wisconsin for Detroit to join the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin. He was accepted into the order at the age of 33 and, taking the name Solanus after St. Francis Solano, was ordained a “simplex priest”, meaning he could not hear confessions or preach doctrinal sermons. During his time as a Capuchin, he ministered in New York City, Yonkers, NY, Huntington, IN and again in Detroit
Early on, he was recognized as a holy man, spending much of his time feeding the poor and caring for the sick. Many said he had a healing touch for the ill; people would line up for blocks to see Fr. Solanus. Because he was a porter of the Detroit monastery door, people would call him “The Doorkeeper”. He never turned people away when they wanted to speak to him. Even his joy was obvious to everyone, as he would often share his love for playing the violin with his fellow friars.
In 1946 his health began to decline from a skin condition and for the next few years he was in and out of the hospital. On July 31, 1957, Fr. Solanus Casey passed away. His last words reportedly were “I give my soul to Jesus Christ.”
Thousands attended his funeral. He was buried in Detroit and in 1987 was exhumed and reinterred inside the Father Solanus Casey Center. His remains were found to be mostly incorrupt. Many miracles have been attributed to Fr. Solanus’ intercession.
In 1995, Pope John Paul II raised Fr. Solanus Casey from the title of “Servant of God” to “Venerable” and on May 4, 2017, Pope Francis announced that Solanus Casey will be beatified due to a miracle being confirmed by the Vatican. The beatification Mass will take place in 2017 in Detroit. After the beatification Mass, Fr. Solanus will take on the title "Blessed".
Prayer for Canonization