a simple life

This weekend Mom (who's visiting with us until next weekend) and I drove up to Michigan for a family gathering--my Uncle, my Mom's oldest brother is in the midst of chemo--which wound up being an amazing time spent visiting family, many who I haven't seen in ages; laughing and telling stories; catching up on our "grown up" lives. My Uncle, who just a few weeks back could barely walk, seemed his spry, normal, always laughing self; aside from his shaved head, he was the uncle I remember. At one point during our gathering, I looked up and realized that there were 4 generations of our family at the table, eating pizza. Amazing. Weekends like this past one make me long to be back home, closer to the people I come from, closer to the source of our stories.

On our way to the family gathering, Mom and I stopped at the Father Solanus Casey Center in Detroit to say prayers. Raised very Catholic I find that even as an adult, and in the midst of my personal struggles with the church, there are some things too ingrained in me, some things which I value too much to cut out--one of them being prayer. And there are some places that calm me and make me feel closer to God.

Bio on Fr. Solanus:
  • Born in, 1870, Barney Casey was the oldest of 16 children of an Irish-American family living in Wisconsin
  • After a youth spent working as a lumberjack, a prison guard, and a streetcar motorman, Barney felt called by God and decided to study for the priesthood
  • In 1897, after hearing the Virgin Mary say to him, "Go to Detroit," he packed a trunk and was on his way
  • Taking the name of Fr. Solanus after St. Francis Solanus (a 17th century Spanish nobleman, missionary, and preacher), he was eventually ordained in the Capuchin Franscican order
  • He was eventually sent to work in Yonkers and Harlem, NY, where he promoted a prayer group: the Seraphic Mass Association (many noticed remarkable events and recoveries after praying to this group, prompting many to believe Fr. Solanus had prompted miracles)
  • Father Provincial Benno Aichinger, directed him to keep a record of these "special favors." (When he died, Fr. Solanus had filled 7 large notebooks with more than 6,000 special prayer requests)
  • Father Solanus returned to Detroit in 1924 and worked with his order until he retired in 1945, after leaving for a time, he returned in 1956 for medical treatment for his skin cancer
  • Father Solanus died July 31, 1957, on the 53rd anniversary of his first Mass
  • 30 years after his death,  Pope John Paul II approved the reading of the decree declaring the heroic virtues of Casey; given the title "Venerable," means Casey has completed the first of three steps in the rigorous process toward canonization

So, all that said, I thought I would share some resources on Fr. Solanus Casey:

Father Solanus: The Story of Solanus Casey, the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin
Thank God Ahead of Time: The Life and Spirituality of Solanus Casey 
Meet Solanus Casey : Spiritual Counselor and Wonder Worker

DVDs:Unsolved Mysteries: Miracles : 33 Episode Collection : Miracle of Lourdes, Angels, Shroud of Turin, Miracle of Fatima , Father Solanus Casey, Padre Pio, Medjugorje Miracles, Image of Guadalupe, Christmas Miracle and Many More
The Healing Prophet: Solanus Casey
"God condescends to use our powers if we don't spoil his plans by ours." --Fr. Solanus Casey


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