Beginning this week, I’d like to share the first installment of a six part series on the life of Fr. Solanus Casey that I’m currently working on with Patrick Howard (AoD Young Adult Campus Ministry) in conjunction with the AoD efforts to allow the life of Fr. Solanus to inspire us all as joyful missionary disciples as the Beatification mass in November nears. What follows is an evangelical biography of the life of Fr. Solanus. He’s incredibly inspiring! Come Holy Spirit, help us to receive divine inspiration from the life of Fr. Solanus. Fr. Solanus, pray for us.
Fr. Solanus Casey: An Icon of the Gospel Unleashed (Part 1)
Humble & Holy Beginnings
The Catholic Faith often refers to the family as the domestic church, which is described by Detroit’s Archbishop Allen Vigneron as “the primary social unit in which life in Christ, the life of the Church, is experienced and lived.” When looking at the life of Fr. Solanus Casey, one could say that he was born into a domestic mega-church! Born on November 25th, 1870, Bernard Francis Casey was the sixth of 16 children born to Irish immigrant parents: Bernard James Casey and Ellen Murphy.
Growing up on farms in Oak Grove and Big River in Wisconsin, life in the Casey household was rich in love and devotion to the Catholic faith. Having nine brothers and six sisters, Solanus was blessed with parents who actively modeled and taught the selfless love of God to their children. Fr. Solanus recalled his father frequently saying “prayer, boys, prayer” as he was growing up. As a young boy, he picked up a love for the rosary from his mother and vowed to pray the rosary every day. The children loved the outdoors and sports, with the boys even forming their own baseball team called The Casey Nine.
The power of God’s love working in the family life of the Casey home can’t be understated. Several of Solanus’s siblings also entered religious life, after having been raised in the grace of God’s love through a Holy Spirit imbued family life that permeated the Casey household. The family knew tragedy as well, losing two young children to diphtheria in 1878, but faith saw the family through. While not perfect, the Casey household certainly served as a school of divine love, the domestic church, which set Solanus and his siblings on the path of true discipleship: a life intentionally lived in God’s love. All these years later, the Casey family still serves as a powerful witness to family life joyfully rooted in the amazing presence and love of God.
God bless you friends, remember, please pray about inviting someone to Appha!!
. Pat-Fr. Patrick