While on the way to a customer Monday, I paid a visit to the St. Bonaventure Monastery in downtown Detroit, the place where Venerable Fr. Solanus Casey served for many, many years, and is laid to rest. The monks offer confession throughout the day during the week, and I needed to go.
My other reason to go was because I had promised to remember the intentions of several folks over at Terry’s blog, Abbey Roads at the tomb of Fr. Solanus.
I like going there – it’s a quiet, holy place, thoroughly imbued with the sanctity of Fr. Solanus. It’s become a sort of pilgrimage stop for many people. A number of years ago, the monastery underwent a massive expansion project. The church was redesigned (not to my liking and taste, but what can you do?), and added were, among other things, a welcome center, gift shop and small museum called the Solanus Casey Center, that showcases the life and wisdom of Fr. Solanus. These changes were made in anticipation of the (hopefully!) inevitable beatification of Fr. Solanus. There are a few areas set aside for meditation and reflection, both indoor and outdoor. The outdoor area includes some sculpture pieces that are not to my liking – a bit amorphous and uber-ecumenical, or say “spiritual” rather than “religious”, and they don’t express much in the way of Catholic identity. Still, if Fr. Solanus were alive today, and saw the changes, he would probably just humbly totter off to perform his duties, and cheerfully serve those who would come seeking his aid and advice. That was his mission, and still is his mission – although now he intercedes on our behalf in the company of angels and saints and our Blessed Mother, rather than in a small room, or in his church.
I took some photos, and I thought I’d share them with you.
As an extra bonus, you got my reflection in the window!
Fr. Solanus’ room/cell, pretty much the way it was when he died, preserved in the Center. A little typewriter stands on the table to the right of the chair. Proof that we need very little to be holy – in fact, having less makes it easier.
Fr. Solanus’ final resting place, as seen from the foot end. There are padded kneelers on either side. The folded up pieces of paper are people’s prayers and intentions. If you draw an imaginary line straight up from the ’19’ in ‘1957’, mine is the one directly above the L-shaped paper.
Then again, Fr Solanus, ever humble and ever quiet, would not deign to consider himself as worthy as those I mentioned. A good and proper example for us all.