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If canonized, Father Solanus Casey, a Detroit priest, would be a rarity among saints

Frank Witsil, Detroit Free Press on

Published in Religious News

Father Solanus Casey, the Capuchin friar who co-founded the Capuchin Soup Kitchen in Detroit and was beatified in 2017, is known to many as an inspiration and is a miracle away from being declared a Catholic saint.

If canonized, Casey would join a rare group of American saints. While there are more than 10,000 saints in the Roman Catholic Church, fewer than a dozen are from the United States.

A 'premier citizen' of Detroit

Casey has been lauded as "one of the premier citizens of our city" by Detroit Catholic Archbishop Allen Vigneron, who added that Pope Francis "sees great holiness in Father's life."

The late priest is known for his great faith, humility and love of the violin. His significance also is tied to Detroit, which has wrestled with revitalization and deeply entrenched poverty.

The beatification ceremony

 

For the beatification ceremony, nearly 70,000 people — from parishes across metro Detroit as well as from other nations, including Ireland, Italy, Guam and Panama — packed Ford Field.

At that event, many said they were saved by Casey's intercession.

Early life, surviving diphtheria

Bernard Francis Casey was born in Oak Grove, Wisconsin, on Nov. 25, 1870. He was one of 16 siblings — 10 boys and six girls — whose parents were Irish Catholic immigrants looking to escape famine.

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