Michigan cancer survivor says Father Solanus Casey saved his life

Beatification mass for Casey is Saturday at Ford Field

By Nick Monacelli - Reporter, Dane Sager Kelly - Web Producer

DETROIT - Father Solanus Casey’s beatification will occur Saturday, one of the last steps before becoming a Saint in the Catholic Church.

At the age of 32,  20 years ago, John Ahee was diagnosed with medulloblastoma, an extremely rare form of brain cancer in adults. Medical experts told him that the tumor in his cerebellum gave him only a 20 percent chance of surviving the nextfive years. 

Ahee’s father made telephone calls to everyone he could reach out to, including Cardinal Edmund Szoka. The former Archbishop of Detroit agreed to pray and say mass for Ahee.

The family believes that Casey had sent a message through Szoka, telling Ahee to refuse chemotherapy, only a few days before it was scheduled to start.

They had all of Ahee’s medical records sent to Duke University, where a specialist there contacted Ahee days after his scheduled chemotherapy start date, telling him that he should refuse chemotherapy and that going through with the treatment would have cost him his life. 

Ahee has no doubts that this was a miracle performed by Casey.

“There was no way possible for Cardinal Szoka to know for me to not take my chemotherapy,” Ahee said. “It was later learned that chemotherapy was unsuccessful at the time. The radiation I was given makes me one of three survivors in the world.”

Ahee’s warning to avoid chemotherapy happened long after Casey had passed on. In the Catholic faith, people become spirits when they die, meaning that miracles can happen at any time, even after death.

“What we’re looking for is to say beyond being a good person, this is a person who continues to have spiritual power,” Father David Preuss, director of the Father Solanus Center, said. 

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