Healing together, with Fr. Solanus

A man receives the sacrament of Healing of the Sick from a Capuchin friar at St. Bonaventure Monastery on June 21. The monastery hosts Healing of the Sick services every Wednesday at 2 p.m.

Weekly healing service more popular since beatification announcement

Detroit — Miracles are still happening in Detroit. All a person needs to do is go to St. Bonaventure Monastery to hear them.

Every Wednesday, men and women, mostly seniors, gather at St. Bonaventure Monastery on Mt. Elliott Street in Detroit for the 2 p.m. Blessing of the Sick, where stories of healings, losses and prayer requests are shared in a community united by faith and fraternity.

Since the May 4 announcement of Fr. Solanus Casey’s beatification, Jerry Coogan of St. Alphonsus-St. Clement Parish in Dearborn has noticed an uptick of people coming to the healing service, praying for the soon-to-be blessed’s intercession.

“I come to the healing services about every week,” Coogan said before the service began. “I feel through the intercession of Fr. Solanus Casey and the Blessed Mother, Our Lady, healing has been happening in my legs.”

Walking through the Solanus Casey Center with a walker, Coogan has been praying for healing of his legs for years. And he credits Fr. Solanus Casey for his doctors diagnosing his condition.

Attendees at the Healing of the Sick Service pray at St. Bonaventure Monastery, awaiting their turn to shares their prayer requests and testimonials.

“Through his intercession, the doctors found the problem I have with my legs,” Coogan said. “I’m on my way now to healing. The thing I tell people is keep the faith. No matter what you do, pray for healing, and you’ll receive so many benefits.”

The Wednesday Healing of the Sick sessions have always been popular at St. Bonaventure, with people far and wide coming to offer intentions either for themselves or a loved one.

Fran Jasper of the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament Parish said she’s been coming to the healing prayer sessions for years, but never offers an intention for herself.

“I’ve been coming to the healing Mass for years, but for no special reason,” Jasper said. “I’ve been going to this since before they redid (the St. Bonaventure Chapel), but I like it. I enjoy seeing people praying together; you see a lot more people here these days, and it makes me happy seeing the healing that takes place.”

Jasper notes that more people have been going to the Healing of the Sick sessions since the announcement of Fr. Solanus’ beatification.

“I’ve seen a lot more people here; it used to be that I knew everyone that walked into the chapel,” Jasper said. “For people who’ve never been, if you need to lift up your spirit, this is a place to come. Just to see that miracles are still happening. God is still working for those that believe. You have to believe to be healed.”

The Healing of the Sick services start with a hymn and a reading from scripture. After a brief homily, Fr. David Preuss, OFM Cap., and Bro. Richard Merling, OFM Cap., pass a microphone through the congregation so people can share stories of healings and petition for prayer requests for upcoming surgeries or important diagnoses.

Wanda Loretta of St. Mark Parish in Warren said she’s been coming to St. Bonaventure Monastery and the Solanus Casey Center since she was young.

“I find it peaceful. I find the friars compassionate,” Loretta said. “When I came to confession here, the friars just seemed to be so understanding, so full of mercy. I came back in 1999 when I had my hips replaced, and to comeback to this peace, this solace, it was so comforting.”

Loretta said she was diagnosed with cancer in 2003 and has been in remission since 2004, but hearing the pains Fr. Solanus Casey and so many others went through put her own pain into perspective and helped her realize the saving power of her faith.

“To see young children, older people, parents and grandparents come here with their problems, asking for healing, it strengthens my faith, my religion,” Loretta said.

As the microphones were passed around and stories were shared, bursts of “Praise God” and “Alleluia” came from the crowd as people expressed their gratitude to God for the healing of friends, families and complete strangers.

“It’s just the atmosphere here which permeates to everybody,” Loretta said. “Knowing Fr. Solanus is here to my left,” she said pointing to Fr. Solanus’ tomb in the transept of the Solanus Casey Center. “I think it’s all so personal, not everybody gets the same kind of healing, the same kind of calmness. We’re all individuals. But a lot of people are coming now, since Fr. Solanus is going to be beatified. More and more people are realizing the healing graces Solanus offers.”

Blessing of the Sick
St. Bonaventure Monastery, 1780 Mt. Elliott St., Detroit, hosts a Blessing of the Sick every Wednesday at 2 p.m. and the fourth Sunday of the month at 2 p.m.