Solanus devotees continue the work of the porter

Fr. Solanus Casey serves Detroiters at the Capuchin Soup Kitchen in Detroit, which he helped start during the Great Depression in 1929 and which continues to serve the city today.

DETROIT — Sixty years after the death of Fr. Solanus Casey, the work of the Capuchins continue.

From serving meals to the hungry to welcoming visitors to the Solanus Casey Center at St. Bonaventure Monastery, the friars on Mt. Elliot Street continue the legacy left behind by the venerable friar.

A stained-glass window shows the image of Fr. Solanus Casey and St. Teresa of Calcutta at St. Jude Parish in Detroit. (Mike Stechschulte | The Michigan Catholic)

Every year, 250,000 visitors come to the Solanus Casey Center to learn more about the holy man and the miraculous healings that took place because of his intercession. To this day, people in need of healing come to the center to pray at Fr. Solanus’ tomb, leaving their prayers written on small pieces of paper.

“We pray that Fr. Solanus’ message of thankful prayer and service to the poor be continued in our midst,” said Fr. David Preuss, Solanus Casey Center director. “We look forward to his message becoming better known as he received the honor of beatification.”

The very soup kitchen Fr. Solanus helped found in 1929 amidst the Great Depression continues to serve more than 2,000 meals a day and includes an emergency food pantry and tutoring program for children.

True to Fr. Solanus’ agricultural roots of growing up on a farm on the banks of the Mississippi River in Wisconsin, the Capuchin Soup Kitchen sponsors Earthworks Urban Farm, which is responsible for harvesting six tons of produce, most of which is given to locals who learn how to grow food at the farm.

The Capuchin Soup Kitchen continues to support On the Rise Bakery, located on Gratiot Avenue, which assists individuals re-entering society after bouts with incarceration and substance abuse, and sponsors Jefferson House, a home for men seek recovering from addiction.

Fr. Solanus’ legacy also continues through the Fr. Solanus Guild, a group of devotees who work to inspire the memory of Fr. Solanus by telling others about his life, archiving information about his work and provide spiritual support and office services to the vice postulator for the cause of his beatification.

Organized on May 8, 1960, by a few of his friends, the guild has since grown to more than 100,000 members spanning 43 countries.

The Fr. Solanus Guild is responsible for gathering and documenting supportive evidence for the beatification — and canonization — cause of Fr. Solanus Casey, including working with the Archdiocese of Detroit’s investigation into his life and virtues and compiling testimonies for the Congregation for Causes of Saints.


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