Among the last who knew Blessed Solanus personally, Fr. Dan Crosby draws inspiration from famous line: ‘Blessed be God in all His designs’

DETROIT — On Nov. 25, 1870, the man who would become known as the “Porter of St. Bonaventure,” a healing prophet and a humble Capuchin servant to thousands in Metro Detroit and beyond, was born in the sleepy town of Oak Grove, Wis.

The sixth of 16 children of Bernard James and Ellen Elizabeth (Murphy) Casey, the boy named Bernard Francis Casey grew to become just the second U.S.-born man to achieve beatification on Nov. 18, 2017, with 60,000 people in attendance at Detroit’s Ford Field. 

While the saintly friar died 63 years ago, there are still some in Metro Detroit who knew, and lived with, Blessed Solanus Casey. 

In celebration of Blessed Solanus’ 150th birthday, Fr. Dan Crosby, OFM Cap., 82, sat down to share a reflection of his time as a novice at St. Bonaventure Monastery in Detroit in 1956-57, the last years Blessed Solanus lived at the friary. 

Like today, Blessed Solanus lived through a pandemic and terrible difficulties, Fr. Crosby said, and his example of humble submission to God’s will is an inspiration to all who find troubled times today. 

Detroit Catholic video courtesy of the Solanus Casey Center

Click the following links to read the six-part series on the life of Blessed Solanus Casey published at the time of his beatification in 2017

PART 1: Irish immigrant family instilled virtue, love of God in young Fr. Solanus
PART 2: A struggling student heeds a woman’s advice: ‘Go to Detroit’
PART 3: A ‘simple’ friar meets people where they are: at the monastery doors
PART 4: God sends a healing prophet: Fr. Solanus and the power of the Mass
PART 5: For Fr. Solanus, Jesus and the saints were a powerful combination
PART 6: Fr. Solanus’ last days: An ‘aura of holiness’ and suffering lifted to God