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Wednesday, November 05, 2003

Detroit's Saint?

Consider the following a pallette-cleanser. What can I say? Fisking takes a lot out of me. Don't worry too much, though--there's a prime target visible on radar. "I have tone...."

A very worthwhile article from The Word Among Us about the Venerable Solanus Casey, the Capuchin monk who is a strong candidate to be the first American-born man to be canonized.

He was renowned for his intercession on behalf of the sick, where he just knew that the ill or injured person would recover:

For Eleanor and Mitchell Bartold of Saint Clair Shores, Michigan, Solanus Casey was like a family member. They met him in their early teens and look back fondly on their friendship with him. "We call ourselves Fr. Solanus groupies," said Eleanor with a chuckle. The couple volunteers every Wednesday at the Fr. Solanus Center and hope to attend their friend's beatification ceremony in Rome one day.

The Bartolds have no doubts about the power of their friend's intercession. In 1953, when the youngest of their three children, Susan, was just three years old, she contracted polio. As paralysis began to set in, her back arched backward like a bow.

They called Fr. Solanus, who was then in Indiana. "He told us not to worry, but to make a nine-day novena to Our Mother of Perpetual Help," said Eleanor. "We did just what he told us, and on the ninth day she lay flat for the first time." Susan remained in the hospital for three months. Today she is the mother of five grown sons and has no signs of her childhood paralysis.

* * *

In 1956, at the age of 85, Solanus was sent back to Detroit to receive medical help for a skin disease. Visitors were limited, but it was during this time that Brother Richard Merling's family was allowed to meet with him, on the Sunday before Christmas 1956.

Fifteen at the time, Br. Richard recalled the visit, which included his mother, father, and sister. The family was worried about his older brother, who had suffered a compound fracture of the leg in a car accident and needed bone grafts. "After we told Fr. Solanus about my brother's accident, he said, 'Don't worry, things will be all right.' He said it as if he knew things would be fine. And as time went on, my brother healed perfectly well."


I know a woman at our parish who relates a similar story. When she was 9, she contracted typhus, and was hospitalized. While battling for her life, her mother went to see Fr. Solanus. Fr. Solanus, in the same manner described above, immediately and gently reassured her mother that not only would her daughter recover, she would be out of the hospital in a month. A month later, she was discharged in good health.

It seems everyone in these parts has a story about this good and gentle servant of Christ. Ven. Solanus, pray for us.

[Thanks to Michael Dubriel for the link.]

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