Solanus Casey, the son of Irish immigrants in Wisconsin, felt called to the priesthood after witnessing a drunken sailor stabbing a woman. Somehow, this scene of sin and suffering caused Casey to dedicate himself to God and to promote God’s love as the answer to the world’s troubles. After entering the Capuchins, he was ordained a priest. But in light of his academic difficulties, his superiors placed restrictions on his priestly faculties. He was not permitted to hear confessions or preach on doctrine. Instead he spent most of his life as a porter at St. Bonaventure’s monastery in Detroit and worked in the friars’ soup kitchen.
Despite his humble office, Casey’s extraordinary spiritual gifts were quickly recognized. A gifted reader of souls, he became particularly renowned for his ministry of healing prayer. Scores of people sought him out each day for spiritual counsel and intercession. Dutifully, he recorded their petitions in his prayer book and promised to ask God’s assistance. Even in his lifetime, hundreds of miraculous cures were attributed to his prayers. In his final illness, he remarked, “I’m offering my suffering that all might be one. If only I could see the conversion of the whole world.”
Since his death on July 31, 1957, at the age of eighty-six, the reports of healing miracles have continued unabated. In May 2017, one of these miracles was officially approved by Pope Francis, clearing the way for his beatification on November 18, 2017.