A Visit To Venerable Fr Solanus Casey

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.

The tabernacle in the Church.

The (former) high altar. To the left is St. Francis; to the right is St. Bonaventure. That’s the baptismal font in front of it, where the low altar used to be. The woodwork is exquisite.

A side altar devoted to our Blessed Mother. Opposite this altar is one erected for the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The picture doesn’t do the carvings and woodwork justice.

A plaque on the wall at the entrance to the Solanus Casey Center. Pretty much says it all on how to become a saint.

An exhibit from the Solanus Casey Center – his sandals, rosary, a few prayer books.

Another exhibit – his habit, bible, some texts and famous violin. When he was alive, he could be heard playing his violin in front of the tabernacle, playing songs for Jesus. That’s such a neat image.

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.

The head end of his sarcophagus (is that the right term for it?), complete with violin carving.

It is truly a blessing to have the opportunity to visit the venerable Fr Solanus. Not to take anything away from St Therese, or St Padre Pio, or Blessed Mother Teresa, but I believe he is without a doubt one of the most powerful intercessors from the 20th century. He’s neglected to our own detriment.

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.


About thelarryd

LarryD resides in Michigan with his wife and 2 sons. He's been blogging on Catholic topics since March 2008, providing orthodox commentary on heterodox hooliganism, with observations on the culture, trends, and the Church. His goal? Inject humor and fun into the New Evangelization, with the gentle reminder that everyone's taking themselves way too seriously.
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9 Responses to A Visit To Venerable Fr Solanus Casey

  1. Terry Nelson says:

    Thank you dear friend.


  2. You made my day! When I read about him playing the violin at the Tabernacle I could totally see it! And then my eyes started watering…


  3. doughboy says:

    Thank you, Larry.


  4. Anonymous says:

    God reward you, dear Larry, for praying for me.

    May Our Blessed Mother grant you a special favor for your act of charity and kindness!


    P.S. Thanks for posting these pictures too. I doubt that I will ever be able to get to the Monastery in what remains of my earthly existence.


  5. Sarah Oldham says:

    Absolutely beautiful. I'd never heard of Fr. Solanus so this was fun to meet another Servant of the Lord.


  6. Lola says:

    I love Fr. Solanus!

    Thank you so much for your post on your visit!


  7. Pingback: Solano, Solanus, Solani « Shared thoughts…

  8. We were there for the very first time April 28, 2012; and we can hardly wait to return. Being at the Center was a truly unique, mystical experience. Father Casey is everywhere. He’s such an inspiration that I just had to sit at his desk. He loved… and was loved by… the thousands who sought him out for advice, blessings, and miracles. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and photos!


  9. Pingback: St. Bonaventure Chapel « Shared thoughts…

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