Capuchins release book in commemoration of 130 years in Detroit

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DETROIT - The Capuchins have released a softcover book that is a compilation of photographs taken by Brother Leo Wollenweber, a beloved friar whose roots were in Detroit and who passed away October, 2012.

The release of the book entitled, I Remember….Photographic Memories of Brother Leo Wollenweber, ofm Capuchin, coincides with the 130th anniversary of laying the cornerstone of the St. Bonaventure Monastery.

On July 29, 1883 -- 130 years ago -- the blessing and laying of the cornerstone for the Capuchins' chapel and monastery was witnessed by nearly 8,000 people.

"We were seeking a way to commemorate the anniversary of our Detroit presence," Brother Mark Carrico, the friar in charge of St. Bonaventure Monastery, explains.  "Br. Leo was a very well-known friar in the Detroit area.  He was a Detroit native and he reflected Detroit, Father Solanus and St. Francis in a glow of happiness and contentment. His passing on October 5, 2012, at the age of 95, was mourned by many in the city. Over 2,000 individuals filed past his coffin."

"I think it was his devotion to St. Francis and Fr. Solanus that made one sense profound holiness when in Br. Leo's presence," Br. Mark continues.  "Br. Leo worked steadfastly as Vice Postulator for the cause of Fr. Solanus' canonization.  He said it was Fr. Solanus' example that sustained him throughout his long and happy years as a Capuchin brother."

"After Br. Leo's death, we found a box of negatives and slides taken by Br. Leo.  This led to photo albums and a treasure trove of Capuchin history….photos not only taken in Detroit, but in cities and towns where Br. Leo served in Capuchin formation and ministry, and on his pathway of prayer. We discovered his gift, not only as an artist and as a deeply spiritual man, but as a photographer."

"As we browsed through Br. Leo's photos, we realized that this was the perfect commemoration of the Capuchins' 130th anniversary in Detroit," Br. Mark explains. 

The photographs span from the mid-1940s to the 1970s and take place in friaries located in Michigan, Wisconsin and Indiana.

The pictorial essay demonstrates the simple lifestyle of the Capuchins, but also their simple joys. It demonstrates the path of a Capuchin friar is one of community and brotherhood.


The softcover book is 150 pages and can be purchased at the Solanus Casey Center's gift shop for $18.95.  It can be ordered and shipped by calling 313.579.2100, ext. 147.  A nominal handling/shipping charge will be added to orders that are shipped.


All proceeds of the book go directly to St. Bonaventure Monastery to aid the retired friars. 

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