Steven was to attend a conference in Marinette, Wisconsin the last week of April; so, as he planned his trip, he had an idea.
“Why don’t you accompany me? Let’s do what we’ve put off for too long.”
Landin’s magic of three’s
Steven knew that I’d lived in Philadelphia many years ago. I’d even been to Chicago for the Christmas holidays in 2004. But I’d never been straight up to the northern states, and neither had he.
“So why not take some extra time and explore? How about visiting the Solanus Center in Detroit, the Dominican St. Jude Shrine in Chicago, and St. Joseph’s Indian School in Chamberlain, South Dakota?”
The third day of Steven’s conference, we came very close to calling off the rest of the trip; but somehow, with a lot of determination and resilience, we prevailed despite the doubts and emotional distress. We proceeded instead to Milwaukee where we spent the night visiting with Steven’s cousin, Reid, and his partner, Dale.
“Be very careful driving in Detroit,” they cautioned us.
Oh, my gosh, I thought. Detroit sounds scary and foreboding.
We’d driven from Minneapolis to Baldwin, Wisconsin to Marinette to Michigan so we could proceed to Detroit. How could we turn back after traveling all that distance?
I recalled what I’d told my students during the writing process. “Every good story has drama, so remember Landin’s magic of three’s. Make sure your story has three very exciting parts leading to the happy conclusion.”
We had three special places to visit and about a thousand miles to drive. I was so emotionally distraught that I wasn’t sure I could pull myself together. Could I see the trip through to completion?
My Inner Voice rallied. Maybe Father Casey was beckoning, cheering us on?
Just a little farther. Just a little more. You can do it. You can get past this.
High anxiety kept us alert. Reid and Dale had told us to keep our doors locked, but what we saw was totally unexpected and shockingly artsy with an air of self-deprecating humor. Only, the delapidated houses weren’t funny; and the empty lots revealed a mass exodus from the neighborhood.
“If these houses could speak, what would they tell us about the neighborhood’s economic woes? How beautiful the place must’ve been in its heyday! So many abandoned houses now, though. All down the same street. Gosh! How could life have come to this?” I wondered aloud.
Deeper and deeper into the depressed area we drove. I was stunned to see such ravages in an American city. Even the European countries we visited didn’t look like this. What sadness! How did the residents feel? What about the kids? I couldn’t imagine growing up in such a somber environment. Yet, the streets were clean, smooth, and well-kept.
Before long we saw a huge cemetery and, oh, what a welcome sight! The Solanus Casey Center and the St. Bonaventure Friary were right across the street.
“This is where we’ll be tomorrow morning,” Steven said. “Now to find a place for the night.”
We could escape to a better place, but what about the residents?
We drove around until we found a place where I’d feel safe, away from the unseen dangers that surely lurked nearby. Then, as we met folks who worked within the hotel, I relaxed and enjoyed their smiles and their conversations.
St. Bonaventure Church
Still feeling somewhat disheveled the following morning, we were relieved and glad to arrive at the Solanus Center without any difficulty. We parked in the gated area and took the sidewalk to the front entrance where, lo and behold, our emotions took over the moment we stepped within.
What an incredible journey! What a tearful time!
Father Casey awaited us with open arms.
After Communion… Most sweet Lord Jesus, pierce my inmost heart with the most dear and most bracing wound on your love. Pierce it with true, serene, apostolic, and most holy charity, that my soul may ever yearn and melt with love for you and the desire to possess you. May my soul be drawn toward you and overwhelmed with the hope of entering your courts. May it long to be dissolved and to be with you.
Grant that my soul may hunger for you, the bread of angels and the food of holy souls, our supersubstantial bread, having in itself every sweetness and good taste, having the delightfulness of all that charms my heart. May my heart always long for you and find its nourishment in you, and may my inmost heart be filled with the sweetness of your savor. May my heart thirst for you, the fountain of life and of wisdom and of knowledge and of eternal life, the torrent of pleasure, and the richness of the house of God.
May my heart always draw near to you, seek you, catch sight of you, be drawn to you, and arrive at your presence. May my heart think of you, speak of you, and do all things that it does for the glory of your name, with humilty and care and affection and delight, with eagerness and with deep feeling, and with perseverance to the end. Thus may you alone always be my hope, all my confidence, my joy, my rest and my tranquility, my peace, all that charms me; my fragrance, my sweetness, my food, my nourishment, my refuge, my help, my wisdom, my portion, my possession, my treasure. In you may my mind and my heart be fixed and secure and rooted forever without any change. Amen (Daily Roman Missal, Third Edition, 2010, pp. 2320-21).
Novena… Dear St. Bonaventure, cardinal, bishop, and doctor of the Church, you chose a life that embraced mortification and great humiliation. Choosing to serve those individuals who were rejected and sick, you risked illness for yourself. You made your life a continuous prayer and spent hours meditating on the wounds of Christ. Please pray for us that we may have a sincere and humble heart. Pray that we may not lose sight of Jesus’s wounds and, thus, walk on the straight path to eternal salvation. May we take a great many souls with us to our heavenly Father.
St. Bonaventure, you were known to say, “One should carefully beware of decreasing, even in the slightest, the honor that is due to Mary.” May we strive, as you did, to love our Blessed Mother and be carriers of her peace in this world. Please place our petitions… in the loving hands of our Blessed Mother, as we know they will be warmly received by her Son. Amen.
Say one Hail Mary after each recitation of the novena.
To the Holy Spirit… Lord Jesus, as God’s Spirit came down and rested upon you, may the same Spirit rest on us, bestowing his sevenfold gifts. First, grant us the gift of understanding, by which your precepts may enlighten our minds. Second, grant us counsel, by which we may follow in your footsteps on the path of righteousness. Third, grant us courage, by which we may ward off the enemy’s attacks. Fourth, grant us knowledge, by which we can distinguish good from evil. Fifth, grant us piety, by which we may acquire compassionate hearts. Sixth, grant us fear, by which we may draw back from evil and submit to what is good. Seventh, grant us wisdom, that we may taste fully the life-giving sweetness of your love.
October 24, 2012
Yesterday, Steven emailed Fr. Larry Webber, OFM Capuchin, Director of the Solanus Casey Center and St. Bonaventure Church.
I noticed that the glass doors are etched with a building or buildings. I am unable to identify it. Please let me know what and where it is, so we can add that to the blog.
Today, Father Larry responded.
The etched doors at the tomb of Venerable Solanus (which, unfortunately, are almost never closed to be able to appreciate) are of the New Jerusalem from the book of Revelations (21:10-14)— a sign of promised life and the second coming of Christ which we await.
Links of interest… Capuchin Franciscan Province of St. Joseph: ministries / weekly re:cap… Franciscan saints calendar… Mt. Elliott Cemetery… Solanus Casey Center: home / shrine / virtual tour… St. Bonaventure: about / about / author / biography / chapel / doctor / feast day (Dec 1st) / memorial / mystical prayer / patron saint / prayer / theologian / thanksgiving… Venerable Solanus Casey: about / blog / books / cards / Capuchin / doorkeeper / ecards / “favors” / garden (paver) / guild / legacy / meets Father Flanagan, SOLT / memorial / message / mystic / novena / opening the door to miracles / ordination / photos / pilgrims & porters / prayer / priest / relic badge / saint / saintmaker / simple man / story / venerable / vocation… Visit to Venerable Fr. Solanus Casey (blog post)…
WP posts… Budding relationships… Capuchin church stations… Franciscan experience… Franciscan treasures… God’s master plan… Grapes of generosity… Holy relics… Lady of sorrows… Mary’s miraculous medal… Mary’s seven joys… Mercy and justice… My Franciscan Crown… Powerful intercessor… Prayer… Prayers and blessings… Saint of miracles… Saintly connections… Si quaeris miracula… Solano, Solanus, Solani… St. Anthony… St. Elizabeth Church…
St. Felix… St. Peregrine relic… Stella Maris… Today’s Beatitudes… Tony’s big day
Filed under: churches, holy relics, prayer, spiritual gifts, St. Bonaventure, Venerable Solanus Casey Tagged: | building community, God's master plan, overcoming adversity, Solanus Casey Center-Detroit MI, St. Bonaventure Church-Detroit MI