Hi Friends! We continue this week with a multi-part evangelical biography on the life of Fr. Solanus Casey, God bless you! Fr. Solanus, pray for us!
Fr. Solanus Casey: An Icon of the Gospel Unleashed
Eyes Fixed on Jesus
In 1891, at the age of 21, Solanus entered St. Francis Seminary High School in Milwaukee, Wisconsin where he was dedicated to growing in his relationship with God through spiritual and academic formation. While Solanus struggled with studies because of his difficulty with the Latin and German languages which his courses were taught in, his superiors were convinced of his devotion to God and pursuit of holiness. They recommended he pursue joining a religious order, and after applying to the Jesuits, Franciscans, and Capuchins, Solanus received a letter of welcome from all three. Discerning which order to enter, he prayed a novena (a nine day period of prayer), leading up to the feast of the Immaculate Conception, and was blessed on the ninth day to distinctly hear Mary, the mother of Jesus, tell him, “Go to Detroit”. He arrived at the monastery door of St. Bonaventure on Christmas Eve of 1896.
Within a month of arriving at the monastery, Fr. Solanus, known as Barney at the time, was given the new name Friar Francis Solanus. His patron was a Spanish missionary priest, St. Francis Solano, who loved the poor native children and called them to prayer with his violin. There was another Capuchin named Francis already living in the monastery at the time, and so Barney became known as “Solanus”. With his patron saint, he shared a love of playing the violin. Despite his continued struggles with studies, Solanus continued to inspire his fellow religious and superiors through an attractive witness to holiness lived out through humility, charity and gratitude. His superiors decided that he would be ordained a “priest simplex”, meaning he would not have the faculties to hear confessions or preach. In the face of what would seem to be a great disappointment, Solanus responded with great humility, docility to the Holy Spirit, confidence, and gratitude to God, whom he insisted we must praise “in all His designs.” On July 24, 1904, Fr. Solanus was ordained a priest and was primed with the right dispositions of mind and heart to set out on the mission of sharing the love and mercy of Jesus wherever he was sent. God Bless– Fr. Patrick