Believers seek sainthood for Fr. Solanus Casey

Metro Detroit priest was known for helping sick people

DETROIT – Visitors to the Solanus Casey Center write petitions, place them on his tomb and pray.

"They come with their burdens, with their petitions, with their illnesses," said Sally McCuen, hospitality coordinator at the center.

McCuen said a history of healing is attributed to the Capuchin priest who died in 1957.

"His influence in people's lives even to this day is huge," she said.

Cancer patient Mike Opalko, of Milford, often visits the center and he always carries a Solanus Casey medallion.

"In fact, today I had my four-year checkup at Karmanos and everything was good. So, I'm real happy about that," said Opalko. "I'll take every day I can get."

The humble priest's admirers point to many miracles to support sainthood for Casey, but getting the Catholic Church to agree is not easy.

"It has to be rather instantaneous, that you had it one day and you don't have it the next," said McCuen.

A panel of doctors must rule out a scientific explanation.

Casey was declared venerable in 1995, the first American man to have that distinction.

"In all the categories of those virtues, his was overwhelming," sad McCuen.

However, recognized miracles will be needed for him to be beautified and eventually canonized. His believers have worked for half a century to make that happened.

The road for the newest saints was much shorter, but that's OK with McCuen.

"Like Fr. Solanus and his example, we trust God. We know it's gonna happen, it's just a matter of when God's timing is," she said.

Solanus Casey joined Detroit's Order of Friars Minor Capuchin in 1897 and struggled through his seminary studies before being ordained a priest in 1904 at the age of 33.

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