God’s master plan

Steven and I traveled to Detroit to visit Father Casey’s tomb, but we had no idea what to expect, much less which entrance to take into the building that encompassed the city block across the street from the gated cemetery.


Taking photos in the dimly lit St. Bonaventure Church, I happened to look up and there he was.  St. Joseph!  I’d been so distracted emotionally that I’d failed to notice him sooner.

What surprises do you have in store for us today? I wondered with shivery excitement.

I smiled at the growing number of Joseph-related memories past, present, and future, including our church in Port Aransas, the Capuchin Province managing the Solanus Casey Center and its intricately connected buildings, and the Indian school we’d be visiting two days later in Chamberlain, South Dakota.  I felt so blessed, so happy to sense St. Joseph so near.

Shortly after Steven returned, I left for confession.  And, as he waited for me, a cordial young man offered him a guided tour.

“When my wife finishes, we’ll look for you,” Steven said gratefully.  He was quite surprised that anyone would care to make visitors feel so welcome.

After a little while, I rejoined Steven.  Then, as he told me about the invitation to tour the center, the young man returned all on his own.

And, wouldn’t you know it?  His name was Joseph.

Timely gift

For two-and-a-half hours we relished every moment of our genuinely heartfelt, specially customized “pilgrimage” with Joseph Taylor, Capuchin aspirant.  We talked, laughed, and related to each other as friends sharing priceless stories.

I wanted to remember everything he told us because I wanted to write about our time at the Center.

“May I record your talk?”

Joseph laughed.  No one had asked him that before.


So this is an excerpt from the edited version.

Three C’s

“Let’s go outside,” Joseph said as he led us through the glass door.

“Oh, my goodness.  It’s beautiful out here!” I gushed.

“This is where a tour usually starts,” Joseph continued.  “This is called the Creation Garden for a few reasons.  Before I explain, let me say that the Center itself focuses on three things: the Capuchins, which is the Order that Solanus Casey belonged to; Christ, of course, Jesus Christ; and Solanus Casey.  So you have three C’s.”

Canticle creations

“Here in the Creation Garden the idea is that St. Francis was totally different from a lot of priests.  He believed that you should love not only God with your whole heart, but also God’s creations.

“A lot of Franciscan monasteries have a place like this where you can blend in the Creation, God’s creation, with everything that you’re doing.  That’s the whole idea.

“St. Francis wrote The Canticle of the Sun.  As you can see, the little frame beside each sculpture displays part of the actual poem.  St. Francis mentions the sun, so we have a sundial.  He mentions the moon, so there are the four phases of the moon.  Brother Sun, Sister Moon.  He wrote about fire, so you have Brother Fire there and Brother Wind, the chimes.  Over here is Sister Mother Earth, and these are Sister Bodily Death and Sister Water.”




“St. Francis wanted to show the various cultures that the Franciscans work with, so each was asked to contribute something different.  For instance, African-Americans from Nigeria designed the wind chimes.

“Now, this obelisk represents water and bears scriptures from the Koran.  When people visit the garden, they look at the sculpture and get a bit confused.

“‘This is a Catholic place.  What’s the Koran, and how does it fit in?’ they wonder.

“The idea is to show that Abraham is the father of the three different religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.  Similarly, water is a unifier that brings to mind the four rivers mentioned in the Old Testament.”

Then, the Lord God planted a garden in Eden….  A river rises in Eden to water the garden; beyond there it divides and becomes four branches.  The name of the first is the Pishon; it is the one that winds through the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold.  The name of the second river is the Gihon; it is the one that winds all through the land of Cush.  The name of the third river is the Tigris; it is the one that flows east of Asshur.  The fourth river is the Euphrates (Genesis 2:8, 10-11, 13-14).

St. Francis

“You probably know all this already about St. Francis, but I’m going to talk about it a little bit.  Is that okay?

“Oh, I would love to hear whatever you have to say, Joseph,” I replied.

“Okay, so here’s St. Francis, a poor rich kid.  He does pretty much what he wants to do.  As he gets older, his parents expect more from him.  One of the greatest expectations is for him to be a knight; so, when he comes of age, his parents insist that he join the crusades.  Again, he comes from this wealthy family; so, of course, a lot of what he has is better than what other soldiers have.

“The family has a big parade and a big party for Francis before he goes off to battle.  Only he doesn’t do well on the field.  Francis gets beaten up and becomes a prisoner of war.  His father hears about it and goes off to rescue his son.

“In order to get his son, he has to pay not only for his son’s release, but also for all the other prisoners.  He purchases the prisoners’ freedom.  Then he brings Francis back and leaves him on the outskirts of town.  The father wants Francis to build character, so he can return to war.

“This is the first time Francis has seen the dark side of the world, and he doesn’t like it.  He comes from a rich family, so he’s pretty much gotten everything he’s wanted.  Being a loving man, Francis doesn’t want to fight.  Instead, he wants to show the Muslims the true presence of Christ.

“Francis refuses to obey his father, so he’s disowned.  Francis moves out into the wilderness and starts a life of his own.”


“Of course, the story continues.  St. Francis and his band of brothers go in search of the Islamists to tell them about the true Christ.  When he reaches the leader of the sect, Francis says that war is not of Christ.

“‘We should be brothers and keep the peace.’

“The Islamists, in turn, tell Francis and his band of brothers, ‘Look, we were told to kill you.  That’s our job, to kill Christians.  We should kill you; but, since you so courageously sought us out to share your religious beliefs, we’ll give you safe passage in any Muslim country you choose to travel.’

“For this reason, Sister Water honors the Muslims.  In return for the privilege of passage, Francis honors Muslims with passages from the Koran on the sculpture in his Creation Garden.

“And, even today, Franciscan brothers travel within the various Muslim countries without difficulty.”

Examining the water sculpture, I wondered aloud, “Each one of the sides is different, right?  Or it continues?  Is it a sentence?”

“I’m not sure,” Joseph responded.

StF112312In 1219, as the Fifth Crusade was being fought, Francis crossed enemy lines to gain an audience with Malik al-Kamil, the Sultan of Egypt.  The two talked of war and peace and faith and when Francis returned home, he proposed that his Order of the Friars Minor live peaceably among the followers of Islam— a revolutionary call at a moment when Christendom pinned its hopes for converting Muslims on the battlefield (Moses, 2009).

“Sooo…  What got you interested in doing this?” I asked.

Joseph’s story

“For the most part, I don’t want to stray too far from here,” Joseph began.

“My mother was the first to become a Catholic in her family, and she took pretty much all her brothers and sisters to St. Rose when she was in her teens.  The church is a mile down the road.

“St. Rose was in the process of being closed; so Father Dave, a Capuchin priest, was asked to take over.  Then, when St. Rose closed, we followed Father Dave to his home parish at St. Charles, which had lots of Capuchins.

“As we got to know the Capuchins, we learned not only about St. Charles, but also about St. Bonaventure and a few other churches.  So that’s when the friendship started.”

Joseph then told us how he and his siblings had come to know Father Casey.

“My mom, who’s very, very big on saints, is a very spiritual person.  She first heard the story of Solanus Casey at a point when she couldn’t have kids.  She would come to Father Casey’s tomb, his casket, quite often; so that was part of it.  Then my father became ill after he retired from the police force.  He used a cane, so a few of his buddies would bring him to the healing services every Wednesday.  He would pray all the time.  After that, my sister, the girl over at the front desk, was asked to come work; so she applied for a job.  When she started working, that brought us, the younger crowd, to the Center more.  Then, as the Center became more popular and needed personnel to work weekends, I was asked to be a tour guide.”

“And you’ve been here doing this how long?”

“I’ve been here since January, but I’ve been coming to the Center since it opened in 2002.  This is the first time I’ve been totally active at the Center, though.  During the week, I teach math to seventh-graders in a predominantly Hispanic school; so I do this on weekends.”

“And your dad?  How is he doing?”

“He passed away in 2008.  He suffered from a number of illnesses.  He had high blood pressure and diabetes and eventually went blind.  It was sad because he’d been a cop for thirty-one years, and he had all these plans to take a cruise and do a lot of traveling; but his health immediately declined as soon as he retired.  A lot of his buddies, as soon as they retired, got very, very ill.  Quite a few passed away.

“My dad was very active here at the Solanus Casey Center.  Every Wednesday he would come to the healing services.  He’s in a video on Solanus Casey.  My mom would watch the video on EWTN, so we’d see our father on TV.”

“Oh, my goodness!” I enthused, totally caught up in the story.  “So he’s alive forever!

“The video is pretty awesome!” Joseph chuckled, reveling at the thought.

We stood there quietly beaming for a few moments until I remembered that Joseph hadn’t yet told us about the last sculpture.

“Oh, were you were going to explain one last thing?” I asked.

Life and death

“Yes.  This is Sister Bodily Death.” Joseph continued.  “St. Francis wrote about life; so a lot of people ask, ‘Where does death fit in?’

“Francis believed that through death you meet Christ.  That’s why he mentioned death last in his poem.  What’s unique is that this piece of burnt tree is from Iowa, not too far from where Solanus Casey and his family lived.  I believe it’s four-thousand years old, and this limestone is almost a million years old.  The wood’s kind of pointing toward the center, since that’s where the journey actually starts.  When I read about death in the poem, I couldn’t grasp it; but now I understand.”

“Wow!  See?  I didn’t know any of that!” I said to Joseph as we made our way back into the building.  “It means a lot to hear your stories.”

Hello, goodbye

As Joseph stepped behind the welcome desk, he introduced his beloved sister with pride.

Like her brother, Jessica was all smiles and just as sweet.  She was also glad, though in no hurry, to break for lunch as Joseph had anticipated.

“We’ll be back another time!” I chirped as we wistfully said our goodbyes.

“Just keep me in your prayers,” Joseph added, his Cheshire cat grin piquing our curiosity.

“Oh?  Something special coming up?” Steven teased.

“Yesterday morning I submitted my application to the Capuchins, so I’m hoping they’ll accept me.”

“Joseph, that’s great news!” I said excitedly.

“Of course you’ll be accepted!” Steven asserted.

“We’ll definitely keep you and your family in our thoughts and prayers.  I’ll write when we get back to Texas.  Thanks so much for being here for us today!”

God’s master plan

Knowing that Steven and I were on an emotional roller coaster ride, God, in his infinite wisdom, surrounded us with wonderful people, including Wilson (in the striped sweater) and his Uncle Jeff whom we met in church, and gifted us with his goodness and mercy.


Through the expeditious intercessions of both Father Casey and St. Joseph, we were mentally refreshed and spiritually uplifted, too.  Yet, Joseph was the charm.

The stories of Father Casey, St. Francis, and Joseph’s family helped us look beyond ourselves to acknowledge God’s gifts— amazing creations— and appreciate all that we have together.

Our visit to Father Casey’s tomb that day was such an important subchapter in our book of life that we give thanks and praise not only for God’s master plan for us, but also for Joseph’s acceptance into the Capuchin Order and the journey he’s just begun.




Canticle of the sun

Most high, all powerful, all good Lord!  All praise is yours, all glory, all honor, and all blessing.  To you alone, Most High, do they belong.  No mortal lips are worthy to pronounce your name.

Be praised, my Lord, through all your creatures, especially through my Brother Sun, who brings the day; and you give light through him.  And he is beautiful and radiant in all his splendor!  Of you, Most High, he bears the likeness.

Be praised, my Lord, through Sister Moon and the stars; in the heavens you have made them precious and beautiful.

Be praised, my Lord, through Brothers Wind and Air and clouds and storms and all the weather through which you give your creatures sustenance.

Be praised, my Lord, through Sister Water; she is very useful and humble and precious and pure.

Be praised, my Lord, through Brother Fire through whom you brighten the night.  He is beautiful and cheerful and powerful and strong.

Be praised, my Lord, through our sister Mother Earth, who feeds us and rules us and produces various fruits with colored flowers and herbs.

Be praised, my Lord, through those who forgive for love of you, through those who endure sickness and trial.  Happy those who endure in peace; for by you, Most High, they will be crowned.

Be praised, my Lord, through our Sister Bodily Death from whose embrace no living person can escape.  Woe to those who die in mortal sin!  Happy those she finds doing your most holy will.  The second death can do no harm to them.

Praise and bless my Lord and give thanks and serve him with great humility.

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Contact information

Prayer leaflets are from Father Primo at Franciscan Mission Associates, P.O. Box 598, Mt. Vernon, NY 10551-0598.

December 18, 2012

Thank you, Jesus, for the witness of St. Joseph.  By your Spirit, make me as faithful and trusting as he was! (the Word among us, Advent 2012, p. 44).

January 2, 2014

As always, we’re delighted to no end anytime we hear about Joseph through Mary Comfort at the Solanus Casey Guild; his sister, Jessica; and/or from Joseph himself.  He and his family, along with the Capuchins and their associates at the Solanus Casey Center, are in our thoughts and prayers daily.  (Father Ugo Sartorio, OFM-Conv at
St. Anthony’s Basilica in Padua is praying for Joseph, too.)

We’re so very proud of Joseph that we get misty-eyed with every bit of news about him.  The photo on the left was received August 2, 2013; the one on the right, January 2, 2014.

JTaylor8213        JTaylor1214

Merry Christmas.  I haven’t forgotten about you guys.  They keep us really busy here.  Thanks for your support.  Br. Joseph

P.S. Hey, Steve!!

Thank you for heeding the call of service, Brother Joseph!

January 19, 2014

Lord, show me where my obedience falls short of your plans for me.  Teach me to trust in you completely (the Word among us, January 2014, p. 40).

January 26, 2014

“Spiritual joy arises from purity of the heart and perseverance in prayer” (St. Francis of Assisi).

May 1, 2014

In response to Father Larry’s reflection today, Steven wrote the following:

Fr. Larry,

Deli and I were there at the Center April 9 and 10 for the Wednesday healing service and Thursday Day of Reflection.  As always, we were captured emotionally and spiritually by the serenity that abides in the Center.  We also met some of the most beautiful people there, including Sidney, a young man physically challenged by an auto accident when he was a baby, but whose outlook is positive and faith-based.  It was particularly nice to finally meet Mary Comfort in person— a perfect name for someone in her position, as I am sure you are aware.  She has always been so kind and helpful in providing Deli with relic badges for us to provide to others who need intercession and spiritual uplift.

Thank you for your description of the events in St. Peter’s Square last Saturday.  Your tale brought the event to life for me.  I had the opportunity to be present at a General Audience with John Paul II in 2001— I still have my invitation, now framed and hung in our home.  I wear a replica of the crucifix fixed atop his ferula (that I obtained at the Vatican), and it now reminds me that I have been privileged to hear a Saint speak.  Truly you are blessed to have shaken hands with His Holiness and conversed directly with him.

May God bless you and the staff at the Center; all of the Friars and Brothers; Capuchins throughout the world, both ordained and seminarian (especially Joseph Taylor); and the faithful who ask, seek, and knock.

Vivat Jesus!

Steve Lanoux
Solanus Casey Guild life member

May 24, 2014

This photo is from the letter received from Brother John Celichowski with the Province of St. Joseph of the Capuchin Order.  (Brother Joseph is on the right.)


May 29, 2014

Oh, my gosh!  Great news!!!

Father Larry’s reflection, “New Capuchin,” arrived this morning.

Fr. Larry gave classes recently to the 21 Capuchin Novices from the US at the Novitiate in California.  Among them is Br. Joseph Taylor who, for several months, worked as our weekend assistant at the Solanus Casey Center.  His sister Jessica is one of our receptionists. Brother Joseph will finish his Novitiate and make his first vows as a Capuchin in July.  Keep him and all the Novices in your prayers as well as praying for more Capuchin Vocations!

Joseph, we’re so over-the-moon happy for you and your family!

June 1, 2014

Where there is charity and wisdom, there is neither fear nor ignorance.  Where there is patience and humility, there is neither anger nor vexation.  Where there is poverty and joy, there is neither greed nor avarice.  Where there is peace and meditation, there is neither anxiety nor doubt (St. Francis of Assisi).

October 4, 2014

Every day Jesus humbles himself just as he did when he came from his heavenly throne into the Virgin’s womb; every day he comes to us and lets us see him in abjection when he descends from the bosom of the Father into the hands of the priest at the altar (St. Francis of Assisi).

Let us love God and adore him with pure heart and mind (St. Francis of Assisi).

May 8, 2015

“By the anxieties and worries of this life Satan tries to dull man’s heart and make a dwelling for himself there” (St. Francis of Assisi).

June 23, 2015

“All a person’s holiness, perfection, and profit lies in doing God’s will perfectly” (St. Joseph Cafasso).

September 27, 2015

“A single act of resignation to the divine will in what it ordains contrary to our desires is of more value than a hundred thousand successes conformable to our will and taste” (St. Vincent de Paul).

March 8, 2016

“Have charity first towards our own souls, cleansing them by confession and penance; then charity towards our neighbors and our brethren, wishing them that which we desire ourselves” (St. John of God).

April 21, 2017

The [Franciscan] order was founded by a layman, Francis of Assisi, who was never ordained a priest.  The charism of the order was not tied to ordination, but to a life of following the Gospel in a radical way (Hermann Schaluck, OFM general minister, 1994; Friars of the Capuchin Franciscan Province of St. Joseph, 2017: 1097, p. 3).

June 18, 2017

Most high, glorious God, enlighten the shadows of our hearts; and grant to us a right faith, a certain hope, and perfect charity so that we may accomplish your holy will.  As we walk in the footsteps of St. Francis of Assisi, give us a spirit of poverty and humility so that we may be united with Jesus, your son, in joy and in peace (Stephen J. Binz in Saint Junipero Serra’s Camino: A Pilgrimage Guide to the California Missions).

July 13, 2017

That is very simply what a pilgrim does: walk.  And it is the way the pilgrim prays, with his or her feet.  And the feet walk through dark clouds to illumination to the light that is holy action.  Through dark, cloud-filled days to a hint of subtle lightening to the sun breaking through, the feet taking us where we least thought we’d go, where before we had thought darkness dwelt, and finding there instead, in bright sunlight, the broken, the poor, the marginal, those made ugly or disfigured by abuse and oppression and woundedness.  We are changed simply by walking, rain or shine, toward and back from whatever shrine we had thought contained our hope and longing.  We walk back toward what was there all along that we could not see (Murray Bodo, OFM in Enter Assisi: An Invitation to Franciscan Spirituality).

October 21, 2017

Saint Francis spent almost half of his life on and in the mountains, and the other half he spent on the road entering and leaving cities.  As Jesus walked up the mountain to pray, then descended and moved among the people, so did Francis and the early brothers, discovering, contemplating, and sanctifying new places, as they continued to walk beyond their own history, as do we if we learn to walk into and out of our own Assisi as pilgrims.

To be a pilgrim means to let go of the need to be attached to one place only.  Space, in turn, then becomes the place that home usually is.  It requires traveling lightly, open to and expecting surprises and blessings from those we meet along the way— a foretaste of journey’s end (Murray Bodo, OFM in Enter Assisi: An Invitation to Franciscan Spirituality).

June 5, 2020

“Let us preach the whole of God’s plan to the powerful and the humble, to rich and poor, to men of every rank and age as far as God gives us the strength, in season and out” (St. Boniface).

Links of interest…  American Catholic: Honoring God’s creation…  Canticle of the Sun: about / prayer / video (YouTube)…  Capuchin Franciscans: blog / ministries / novices (men in formation / new) / website / weekly re:cap (Joseph: #927, 9.7.12)…  Celebrating 800 years in the Holy LandDivine Mercy & the grace of holiness…  Father Abraham: about / family / lyrics / music & craft / our father / song (YouTube; alternate)…  Franciscan Mission Associates…  Franciscan idea of ministry that has much to say to deacons / saints calendar (more)…  Garden of Creation (videos)…  How I made friends with St. Joseph / the scallop shell became a symbol of pilgrimage…  Saint & the sultan: book / encounter of peace between Christians & Muslimsfifth crusade / forgotten incident / historical resource / reflection (blog) / what can be learned…  Simple holiness: A day in the life of a Capuchin Franciscan novice…  Solanus Casey Center: creation garden (YouTube) / guild / home / photo gallery / shrine / sister water / virtual tour…  St. Francis of Assisi: 10+ ideas for kids / about / & answering God’s call / creation & original innocence / ecology & animals / getting to know the real / national shrine / what we can learn / who was / without gloss…  St. Joseph: helps (blog) / in Franciscan theology…  the Word among us

WP posts…  Budding relationships…  Call of service…  Capuchin church stations…  Father’s guided tour…  Father now retired…  Holy relics…  Memory lane…  Mercy and justice…  Morning exchanges…  Promise of hope…  Quiet prayer time…  San Giuseppe…  Si quaeris miracula…  Solano, Solanus, Solani…  St. Bonaventure Church…  St. Felix…  St. Joseph’s chapel…  Today’s Beatitudes

Mercy and justice

The Solanus Casey Center was so special that I wanted to capture as much as possible to keep me going until we return to Detroit.  We started at St. Bonaventure Church, walked through the arched doorway to Father Casey’s coffin, and thoroughly delighted in the spacious hallway that waited to be explored.

Our time at the Center was “a pilgrimage, not a tour” (Joseph Taylor); an exultant, transformational experience; a spiritual journey that continues even today.






Mercy and justice

“Each of the saints on the glass wall is an example of a life dedicated to these twin virtues:” mercy and justice (Solanus Casey Center, n. d.).  Shown below are Clare of Assisi, Katharine Drexel, Elizabeth of Hungary, Francis of Assisi, Joseph the Just, Martin de Porres, Thérèse of the Child Jesus, and Our Lady of Guadalupe, respectively.




Displayed on the wall opposite the saint etchings overlooking the tau garden are the Works of Mercy.

The seven corporal works of mercy relate to the material needs of others: feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, clothing the naked, visiting prisoners, sheltering the homeless, visiting the sick, and burying the dead.

The seven spiritual works of mercy relate to the spiritual needs of others: instructing the ignorant (about Christian practices), counseling the doubtful, admonishing sinners, comforting the afflicted, forgiving injuries, bearing wrongs patiently, and praying for the living and the dead.






Blessing for justice and peace from Troubadour: A Missionary Magazine (Franciscan Missionary Society, Liverpool, UK: Spring 2005)

May God bless you with discomfort… at easy answers, hard hearts, half-truths , and superficial relationships.  May God bless you so that you may live from deep within your heart where God’s Spirit dwells.

May God bless you with anger… at injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people.  May God bless you so that you may work for justice, freedom, and peace.

May God bless you with tears… to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation and war.  May God bless you so that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and turn their pain into joy.  And may God bless you with enough foolishness to believe that you can make a difference in this world, in your neighborhood, so that you will courageously try what you don’t think you can do but in Jesus Christ you’ll have all the strength necessary.

May God bless you to fearlessly speak out about injustice, unjust laws, corrupt politicians, unjust and cruel treatment of prisoners, and senseless wars, genocides, starvations, and poverty that is so pervasive.

May God bless you that you remember we are all called to continue God’s redemptive work of love and healing in God’s place, in and through God’s name, in God’s spirit, continually creating and breathing new life and grace into everything and everyone we touch.

July 29, 2014

Gladden the soul of your servant; to you, Lord, I lift up my soul.  Lord, you are good and forgiving, most merciful to all who call on you (Psalm 86:4-5).

August 16, 2014

“Be merciful to all who are suffering violence, keeping always in your heart the example of the Lord who said, ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice'” (St. Stephen of Hungary).

September 16, 2014

Let us remember one another in concord and unanimity.  Let us, on both sides of death, always pray for one another.  Let us relieve burdens and afflictions by mutual love that, if one of us by the swiftness of divine condescension shall go, hence the first, our love may continue in the presence of the Lord; and our prayers for our brethren and sisters not cease in the presence of the Father’s mercy (St. Cyprian).

December 15, 2014

Think well.  Speak well.  Do well.  These three things, through the mercy of God, will make a man go to heaven (St. Camillus de Lellis).

November 13, 2015

For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people.  Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves (1 Peter 2:15-16).

December 7, 2015

Mercy is a good thing, for it makes men perfect in that it imitates the perfect Father.  Nothing graces the Christian soul so much as mercy (St. Ambrose).

January 12, 2016

The true efficacy of our works depends upon our interior life, and the true worth of a soul is the worth of its interior life; for a soul’s worth is in direct proportion to the intimacy and intensity of its relations with God.  The interior life is the chief, the most important, and the most efficacious element of the spiritual life.  It is the one thing necessary (Archbishop Luis M. Martinez in Worshipping a Hidden God).

February 8, 2016

We need constantly to contemplate the mystery of mercy.  It is wellspring of joy, serenity, and peace (Pope Francis).

April 26, 2016

“At that day of judgment we shall not be asked what we have read but what we have done” (Thomas à Kempis).

May 9, 2016

“Be on such cordial terms with those under you that, when you are all together, it would be impossible to say which is the superior” (St. Vincent de Paul).

June 10, 2016

“The less we have here the more shall we enjoy in God’s kingdom, where the mansion of each is proportioned to the love with which he shall have imitated Jesus Christ” (St. Teresa of Ávila).

September 7, 2016

God is truly humble.  He comes down and uses instruments as weak and imperfect as we are.  He deigns to work through us… to use you and me for his great work (St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta in The Love that Made Mother Teresa).

October 6, 2016

“Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are” (Benjamin Franklin).

March 31, 2017

Most High, Glorious God, in our times of suffering, may we follow the example of Jesus; but may we also serve as a source of comfort and consolation to others in their suffering.  May we never let the fear of suffering stand in the way of our calling to love and work for justice.  Amen (Daniel P. Horan, OFM in The Last Words of Jesus).

June 3, 2017

Pray always, but not in order to convince the Lord by dint of words!  He knows our needs better than we do! Indeed persevering prayer is the expression of faith in a God who calls us to fight with him every day and at every moment in order to conquer evil with good (Pope Francis in Angelus, October 2013).

June 26, 2017

To love, we must be able to enact love, and we must be able to do it day in and day out in our work.  It is this love that will guide us away from the carelessness that leads us to the destruction of the world and our neighbors through our everyday, middle-class existence of buying plastics, fertilizing lawns, eating cheap food, and driving to soccer practices.

It is love that will ultimately move us toward being good and therefore doing good.  “In order to be good, you have to know how,” writes Wendell Berry, “and this knowing is vast, complex, humble and humbling; it is of the mind and of the hands, of neither alone.”  It is knowledge that requires a spirit and a body and so brings us necessarily to the question of livelihood (Ragan Sutterfield in Wendell Berry and the Given Life).

August 22, 2018

“The renewal of acts of faith animated by charity deepens the encounter with God and habituates one to a further receptivity to the power of God in the events of daily life” (Fr. Wojciech Giertych, OP in The Spark of Faith: Understanding the Power of Reaching Out to God).

July 9, 2020

Jesus continues to send out apostles of healing, justice, and mercy.  We’ve received the first gift: forgiveness.  And we’ve been blessed.  All we are and have are from God.  The more generous we become, the more aware we are of God’s goodness in our lives.  Let us pray that we truly proclaim the Kingdom with our lives (Fr. George Johnson Vallamattam).


Links of interest…  After 1967: Detroit Catholics worked to overcome sins of racism…  Beatitudes: Jesus Christ Savior / Matthew 5:1-12 / New Advent / Tripod / Wikipedia / YouTube…  Being merciful…  Call of service: A witness to idealism: book review / preview / servant leadership / spirituality & practice / summary…  Confirmation…  Corporal works of mercy: ideas for your summer bucket list & in the home…  Dorothy Day as seen by her granddaughter / biography / the model you want…  Fifth Beatitude: Mercy…  Focus (blog – pope alarm)…  Gifts & fruits of the Holy Spirit (Bible verses)…  Instrument of peace (song, YouTube)…  Irish priests’ statement calls for free, open discussion of church’s exclusion of women…  Let your works profess your faith…  Live out divine mercy…  Mercy: embraced / gardener’s reflectionjustice / mission / models: Dorothy Day & St. Francis…  Oasis of Mercy: Boston mall chapel relics…  Pope Francis: mercy & justice / “Padre Pio was a servant of mercy“…  Ransoming for Christ: The story of two daring religious orders…  Saintly former slave a model of mercy…  St. Bonaventure’s prayer for the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit…  Virtues…  Was Jesus a community organizer…  Why it matters that God is justice & mercy…  Works of Mercy: catechist’s journey / Catholic kids / confirmed in the Spirit / corporal & spiritualdaily Catholic / divine mercy / doing good / faithful scribbler / first papal message for creationfumbling toward grace / fish eaters / link to liturgy / living the liturgical yearLoyola Press / practicing the spiritual / Wikipedia

WP posts…  Budding relationships…  Call of service…  Capuchin church stations…  Father’s guided tour…  Father now retired…  God’s master plan…  Memory lane…  Promise of hope…  Si quaeris miracula…  Solano, Solanus, Solani…  St. Bonaventure Church…  St. Felix…  Today’s Beatitudes

Today’s Beatitudes

Spending time at St. Bonaventure Church and Father Casey’s tomb was truly emotional for me.  I cried so much my eyes were squinty but I laughed and smiled a lot, too.

Then, for two and a half hours Joseph Taylor, our young, charismatic, self-appointed guide, treated Steven and me to an unforgettable “pilgrimage” that concluded with the historic yet familiar depictions of the modern-day Beatitudes at the Solanus Casey Center.

Ask, seek, knock.

For more than three years I’d envisioned myself at Father Casey’s tomb, so imagine the sensory overload once there!

Oh, my gosh!  How special to discover three very powerful words from one of my favorite Bible verses etched on the glass door leading to the Beatitudes!

Ask, and you will receive.  Seek, and you will find.  Knock, and it will be opened to you.  For the one who asks, receives.  The one who seeks, finds.  The one who knocks, enters.  If you, with all your sins, know how to give your children what is good, how much more will your heavenly Father give good things to anyone who asks him! (Matthew 7:7-8, 11).


While resizing photos for this post yesterday, I searched for Beatitudes online and found references to Matthew, chapter five, not only as verses one through ten, but also as one through twelve.

Hmm.  I reached for my Bible to clear up the discrepancy.

Seeing the Beatitudes on the page, my mind went off on a tangent.  Father Pat gave each of us in his high school CCE class a copy of the New Testament, so we became quite familiar with the gospel readings.  But why did the title, the “Sermon on the Mount,” not ring a bell?

The ol’ pea brain suddenly exploded with a plethora of memories that included the women’s ACTS retreat, March 29 through April 1, 2012.

ACTS retreat

After I registered for the retreat, I pestered Steven off and on.  “Is confession required?  Why do I have to go to confession with someone I don’t know?”  I was seriously, rebelliously, thrown aback by the notion of having to confess to someone other than our parish priest.

Steven was so tired of my whining that he finally said, “Look, if you don’t want to do it, don’t.”  Of course, he also added, “Everyone else will do it, but you don’t have to.”

Hmm.  I could read between the lines, but fine.

The retreat was too noisy for me.  I wanted some quiet time alone to rest before our next group activity.  The ice-cold temperature in our dorm the night before had kept me from sleeping, but napping was out of the question.  I’d be wide awake again that night and even more mentally drained the next morning.

I’ll lie down and read the “Sermon on the Mount.” 

Two months prior Father Xaviour had summarized the passage in one of his homilies.  “For all the answers to all your questions just look to the ‘Sermon on the Mount’ in Matthew, chapter five, especially if you want to make a good confession,” he’d told us.

I’d been clueless— a tabula rasa— on hearing the title, so I’d vowed to read and find out what I’d missed.

Opening my Bible to Matthew 5:1-12, I smiled.  There in all their glory were the Beatitudes, cherished nuggets, heralding chapters five, six, and seven, the familiar teachings of Jesus.

But the title…  How could my eyes have glossed over the title all these years?

The team leaders began rounding up the group.  Still immersed in my thoughts, I closed my Bible and walked to our meeting place.  I felt refreshed and energized… until the unexpected happened.

Oh, my gosh!  Confession time!  Why?  How do I get out of it? 

I was angry.  I was upset.  I didn’t know what to do.  Finally, I got up to look for one of the team leaders I knew.  Quietly, I spoke into her ear, “If I’d known I had to do this, I wouldn’t have come.”

“It’s okay.  You don’t have to do it.  Just go sit down.  It’s all right,” she reassured me.

It’s all right. 

The words registered as a text tail on an electronic marquee.

My friend’s soft voice was so soothing that, without giving confession a second thought, I walked over to sit beside the woman who was next in line.  I was cool, calm, and collected as I waited.  Then, when my turn came, I simply walked into the makeshift confessional.  I was so filled with gratitude that I didn’t even worry about what to say.

During our talk the SOLT priest and I had an amazing dialogue.  We even gifted each other with heartfelt epiphanies.

“Thank you!  Thank you!  Thank you!” I exclaimed afterwards.

As I exited the confessional I felt empowered.  Wholly exhilarated and light on my feet, I also had an open invitation to Our Lady of Corpus Christi for Mass and confession anytime at all.


For some time God had been whispering…  Ask.  Seek.  Knock.  Yet, my refusal to let go had kept me from opening the door.

Why I’d made a mountain out of a mole hill I have no idea, but God never gave up.  He used a familiar voice to whisper his message: It’s all right. 

Then, having been liberated from my misguided notions, I entered and received God’s healing grace.

One-two-three punch

Still, I have to wonder about God’s sense of humor in regard to his lovely favors.  Even when we internalize the message, God checks for understanding.  Through subtle hints or hard konks (coscorrones) on the head he seems to say, “I still remember.  Do you?

Take yesterday, for instance.  We arrived a bit early for the All Saints vigil; so Steven and I sat with our dear friends, Carmen and Carlos.  We conversed as quietly as we could about Father Casey and the Solanus Center before Father Xaviour rang the bell for us to rise for the start of Mass.

Imagine my delight when Father’s gospel reading was the “Sermon on the Mount!”

I smiled for the remainder of Mass, then talked nonstop on our drive home about the timeliness of my blog post.

Today’s Beatitudes

To God everything’s a teachable moment, impeccably delicious, perfectly timed.  The Beatitudes are not only part of the “Sermon on the Mount,” but also a universal lesson and, certainly, a memorable anecdote in my book of life.

Moreover, the Beatitudes at the Solanus Casey Center are true-life depictions of eight extraordinary individuals celebrated for all time: Dorothy Day (Poor in spirit; 1897-1980); Jean Donovan (Mourn; 1953-1980); Takashi Nagai (Non-violent; 1908-1951); Clement Kern (Justice; 1907-1983); Teresa of Calcutta (Merciful; 1910-1997); Catherine de Hueck Doherty (Pure of heart; 1896-1985); Martin Luther King, Jr. (Peacemakers; 1929-1968); and Oscar Romero (Suffer persecution; 1917-1980), respectively.











Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:1-12)

When he saw the crowds, he went up the mountain, and after he had sat down, his disciples came to him.  He began to teach them, saying:

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land.
Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you [falsely] because of me.  Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven.  Thus they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Steps to sainthood

“When we commemorate the saints we are inflamed with another yearning: that Christ our life may also appear to us as he appeared to them and that we may one day share in his glory,” (St. Bernard of Clairvaux, 1090-1153).



October 10, 2013

Father, give me more of your spirit so that I will keep asking, seeking, and knocking for your kingdom.  As I do, give me a revelation of who Jesus is and how much he loves all of us (the Word among us, October 2013, p. 30).

March 30, 2014

“Don’t forget that the saint is not the person who never falls but, rather, the one who never fails to get up again, humbly and with a holy stubbornness” (St. Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer).

May 7, 2014

“You will become a saint by complying exactly with your daily duties” (St. Mary Joseph Rosello).

August 10, 2014

“It is indeed more through suffering and persecution than through eloquent preaching, that God wills to establish his kingdom in souls” (St. Thérèse of Lisieux).

November 15, 2014

“The greater and more persistent your confidence in God, the more abundantly you will receive all that you ask” (St. Albert the Great).

March 17, 2015

The saint does not view sacrifice as an executioner with a sword who will take away his life, but as a yoke that is sweet and a burden that is light.  The devout do not hate life because life hates them or because they have drunk of its dregs and found them bitter, but because they love God more; and, in loving God more, they dislike anything that would tear him away (Venerable Fulton J. Sheen).

March 25, 2015

Overmuch sorrow makes the door of the confessional heavy to open, for fear that a voice inside will be as hard and cold as the shrill modern sirens that led so many to physical and moral death.  But when the door is opened, there is “joy in the presence of the angels of God” (Fr. George W. Rutler, 2015).

March 27, 2015

All hope consists in confession.  In confession there is a chance for mercy.  Believe it firmly.  Do not doubt, do not hesitate, never despair of the mercy of God.  Hope and have confidence in confession (St. Isidore of Seville).

Remember, every saint had a past and every sinner has a future” (Fr. Robert Barron).

May 4, 2015

Sin is a blazing fire.  The less fuel you give it, the faster it dies down; the more you feed it, the more it burns” (St. Mark the Ascetic).

May 5, 2015

Do you really want to be a saint?  Carry out the little duty of each moment: do what you ought and concentrate on what you are doing (St. Josemaría Escrivá).

December 10, 2015

“True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less” (C. S. Lewis).

December 11, 2015

Whatever mission God gives us, no matter how common it may appear, carries within it our potential sainthood.  What God asks of us during our lifetime is the most appropriate and suitable means to our growth in holiness— whether our lives remain ordinary or take an extraordinary turn (Julie Onderko in Discover Your Next Mission From God).

January 14, 2016

You must be willing, for the love of God, to suffer all things, namely labors and sorrows, temptations and vexations, anxieties, necessities, sickness, injuries, detractions, reprehensions, humiliations, confusion, correction, and contempt.  These things help to obtain virtue; these try a novice of Christ; these procure a heavenly crown (Thomas à Kempis in The Imitation of Christ Challoner).

May 6, 2016

You don’t need to wallow in guilt.  Wallow in the mercy of God.  When you are guilty, say so to God through a confessor.  Acknowledge your problems and sins.  The moment you have stated them, God puts his hand over you and you are a newborn babe (St. John Marie Vianney).

July 13, 2016

“The confessional is not a torture chamber, but the place in which the Lord’s mercy motivates us to do better” (Pope Francis).

August 9, 2016

Remember that, each time you pick yourself up after a fall, the feast of the prodigal son is renewed.  Your Father in heaven clothes you again in his most beautiful cloak, puts a ring on your finger, and tells you to dance with joy.  In a living faith you will not approach the confessional with dragging feet, but as if you were going to a feast (Fr. Jean C.J. d’Elbée in I Believe in Love).

August 30, 2016

“In our joys, in our troubles, in the contempt that others show us, we must always say ‘thank you, my God’ or ‘glory to God’” (St. Jeanne Jugan).

March 1, 2017

Don’t worry if it’s been a while since you’ve gone to confession— God is waiting to meet you there.  Don’t settle for ashes alone when you can receive absolution and a fresh start! (St. Teresa of Calcutta in Lent with Saint Teresa of Calcutta).

April 30, 2019

“Conversion is, literally, a turning— the turning of the soul and all its faculties from sin to complete identification with the will of God” (Fr. John A. Kane in How to Make a Good Confession).

December 16, 2019

Do not hesitate.  Do not wait.  When you see your failings, simply turn your heart to God and express your love for him.  And these failings will be overcome (Fr. Timothy M. Gallagher, OMV, in Overcoming Spiritual DiscouragementThe Wisdom and Spiritual Power of Venerable Bruno Lanteri).


Links of interest…  Beatitudes: according to Matthew / as nursery rhymesBible / for kids / fostering love in the home / in the age of me firstJesus Christ Savior / man of the eight beatitudes (Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati) / New Advent / on film: love lifts us up / Tripod / way of life / Wikipedia / YouTube…  Call of service: A witness to idealism: book review / preview / servant leadership / spirituality & practice / summary…  Capuchin Franciscan Province of St. Joseph: ministries / weekly re:cap…  Catherine de Hueck Doherty: about (more) / book / foundress / poem / poustinia: desert (book) / servant of God (videos) / sobornost: unity (video) / spirituality…  Church of the Beatitudes (Josemaría Escrivá – Opus Dei)…  Clement Kern: Conscience of Detroit (more) / “labor priest” / papers (more – photo) / priest & pastor (more) / statue…  Confession: combating pride / easier than stepping on the scale / God’s healing mercy / light’s on for you / sacrament…  Dorothy Day: about / & Mother Teresa & the 5-finger gospel / rumble in her soul / saint for our time – like you & me / worker movement (model for the church)…  Franciscan saints calendar…  Jean Donovan: about (more) / life & example / martyrdom (more) / movie…  Learn to heal painful memories…  Martin Luther King, Jr: about / center / civil rights movement / life in photos / peace prize / quotes…  Oscar Romero: about / biography / last sermon (1980) / literature / martyr / peace hero (outspoken) / prayer / quote (homily) / saint effort “unblocked” (long tangled path) / seven sermons (Lent) / step along the way (prayer)…  Rosa Parks…  Sainthood: declaring someone a saint / ever wonder how a saint is made / odds on becoming a saintpatron saint list (more – more) / promoting / what is (more)  / who is a saint / why we love the saints / why miracles should remain a requirement for canonization…  Scripture speaks: Can we be perfect / Christ’s assurance…  Sermon on the Mount…  Solanus Casey Center: Beatitude people  (videos) / home / shrine / statues (pp. 2-3) / virtual tour…  St. Augustine’s commentary on the Sermon on the Mount…  St. Francis de Sales’ guide to reconciliation…  Takashi Nagai: about / all that remains (blog) / books / conversion & love / familylessons / Nagasaki: memorial museum / no more / song (book)…  Teresa of Calcutta: about (more) / biography (more) / center / peace prize / road to sainthood (more) / saint of light, saint of darkness…  Tips on how to confess well…  Vatican doctors approve the miracle to make Wojtyla a saint…  the Word among us…  Yelling in the confessional? Yes, that was me

WP posts…  Budding relationships…  Call of service…  Capuchin church stations…  God’s master plan…  Holy relics…  Honoring Joselito (St. José Luis Sánchez del Río)…  Mercy and justice…  Quiet prayer time…  Si quaeris miracula…  Solano, Solanus, Solani (Venerable Father Casey)…  St. Bonaventure Church…  St. Felix…  Then and now…  Venerable Julia Navarrete (of the thorns of the Sacred Heart)…  Venerable Margaret (of the Blessed Sacrament)

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St. Bonaventure Church

SBC42812-43For three years I imagined myself at the
St. Bonaventure Church in Detroit, and, oh, the roller coaster rides that led to that unforgettable pilgrimage!

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?”

“Really?!!  Sure!”



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 dilapidated 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.

Veritable beacon   

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.

After an incredible journey and a tearful time, Father Casey awaited us with open arms!

SCC42812-239        SBC61613s-49        SBC42812-208

SBC42812-124        SBC61613-45        SBC42812-118

SBC61613s-24        SBC42812-99        SBC61613-73

SBC42812-78        SBC42812-114        SBC61613-34

SBC42812-94        SBC42812-422        SBC42812-93

SBC61613-97        SBC61613-37        SBC61613-99

SBC61613-41        SBC61613-78        SBC61613-44

SBC61613-98        SBC42812-97        SBC61613-31

SBC42812-53        SCC42812-176        SBC42812-61

SBC61613s-7        SBC42812-65        SBC42812-51

SBC61613s-19    SBC42812-122    SBC61613s-32

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.


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 humility 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.

Pray 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.

July 15, 2014

“In everything, whether it is a thing sensed or a thing known, God himself is hidden within” (St. Bonaventure).

February 3, 2015

“Although you feel tepid, approach with confidence; for the greater your infirmity, the more you stand in need of a physician” (St. Bonaventure).

July 15, 2015

“Men do not fear a powerful hostile army as the powers of hell fear the name and protection of Mary” (St. Bonaventure).

July 15, 2016

“That heart is free which is held by… the love of God” (St. Bonaventure).

May 29, 2017

“Lord Jesus Christ, pierce my soul with your love, so that I may always long for you alone, who are the bread of angels, and the fulfillment of the soul’s deepest desires”
(St. Bonaventure).

June 21, 2017

“That heart is free which is held by… the love of God” (St. Bonaventure).

July 15, 2017

“Since happiness is nothing other than the enjoyment of the highest good… no one can be happy unless he rises above himself not by an ascent of the body, but of the heart” (St. Bonaventure).

July 18, 2018

“Every great story happened when someone decided not to give up” (Spryte Loriano).



Links of interest…  Capuchin Franciscan Province of St. Joseph: ministries / weekly re:cap…  Franciscan saints calendar…  God’s doorkeepers: Padre Pio, Solanus Casey, & André Bessette (Joel Schorn)…  Mt. Elliott Cemetery…  Solanus Casey Center: Beatitude people (videos) / home / shrine / virtual tour…  St. André Bessette: feast / miracle man of Montreal, wisdom, & wondrous miracles…  St. Bonaventure: about (more) / author / biography / centered on Christchapel / doctor / feast day (Dec 1st) / keeping Jesus as model / memorial / mystical prayer / patron saint / prayer (seven gifts of the Holy Spirit) / theologian / thanksgiving…  This beautiful church was a gift from Slovakia to Icelandic Catholics…  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

Capuchin church stations

Saturday, April 28, Steven and I spent several hours at the St. Bonaventure Church, which flows right into the Solanus Casey Center.

Meeting Father Casey

I discovered Father Casey online in 2009, and finally received a third-class relic badge (in my favorite color, green) in the mail along with an application to the Guild in 2011.

“Would you like to join, darling?” I asked Steven before submitting my membership form.

“No, but you can order anything you like from the gift shop.”

Longing to visit

I was disappointed in Steven’s indifference.  No matter what I said about Father Casey, Steven just wasn’t interested.  He didn’t even pretend to listen, but I didn’t let his attitude stifle my exuberance.

“One of these days I’m going to Detroit so I can visit Father Casey’s tomb at the Solanus Center,” I said, not about to let Steven have the last word.

And what a pilgrimage that turned out to be!  For both of us.


Capuchin church stations

“A Journey with St. Anthony along the Way of the Cross” is from Saint Anthony of Padua (Miles and Gianopoulos, 1991, pp. 45-55, 112).

The Franciscans popularized the Way of the Cross devotion.  In the 1300s, in their European monasteries, they began to erect Stations honoring events in the Passion of Jesus.  The practice quickly spread to parish churches.  By the eighteenth century the Way of the Cross had become one of the most popular devotions in the Church.

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Opening prayer

Lord Jesus, you instituted a new covenant of friendship in your blood by calling us together as the people of God.  Like you, we must walk the way of the Cross. We agonize now in the flesh to finish the remainder of your sufferings for the sake of your body, the Church.  We hasten forward to resurrection in the strength that comes from hope.  May our Lady of Sorrows walk with us now in our contemplation.  Amen.

We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.
Because, by your holy cross, you have redeemed the world.

 1st: Jesus is condemned to death…   St. Anthony, help us to be fearless of the world’s judgment, knowing that only the judgment of God matters.

 2nd: Jesus carries his cross…  St. Anthony, help us to accept our trials for the love of God knowing that, if carried in the spirit of Jesus, they will also be redemptive.


 3rd: Jesus falls the first time…  St. Anthony, let us be grateful to God who saves us through the cross of his beloved Son.  

 4th: Jesus meets his afflicted mother…  St. Anthony, may we see in Mary’s love a reflection of the love of God, and may we convey healing compassion to others as an instrument of peace.


 5th: Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus carry his cross…  St. Anthony, inspire us to ease the pain of Jesus today by assisting him in sharing the burdens of our afflicted brothers and sisters.  

 6th: Veronica wipes the face of Jesus…  St. Anthony, teach us through Veronica’s example to see God’s face in those the world rejects and to show his love at work.


 7th: Jesus falls the second time…  St. Anthony, may we ever be grateful to Jesus for accepting the suffering and pain that took away our sins.  May we strive to reform and love with God’s grace.  

 8th: Jesus speaks to the weeping daughters of Jerusalem…  St. Anthony, give us an active concern for the welfare of others.


 9th: Jesus falls the third time…  St. Anthony, may we be strengthened by the persevering spirit of Jesus when we feel defeated or tempted to give in.

10th: Jesus is stripped of his garments…  St. Anthony, strengthen us to live in truth and honesty before others and God, our Creator, who has invested us with enduring dignity.


11th: Jesus is nailed to the cross…  St. Anthony, help us to be patient and to take those first selfless steps of forgiveness.

12th: Jesus dies on the cross…  St. Anthony, inspire us to feel God’s presence and proclaim by our loving lives that Jesus is the savior of the world.


13th: Jesus is taken down from the cross…  St. Anthony, help us to empty ourselves of selfishness so that we may imitate the total giving of Jesus.

14th: Jesus is laid in the sepulchre…  St. Anthony, help us continue our Lord’s mission of liberating the human family from suffering and injustice that results from sin.


Closing prayer

Lord Jesus, in your mercy you have given us new birth into hope which draws its life from your resurrection.  By dying you destroyed our death, and by rising you have restored our life.  You are now at work in our hearts through the energy of your spirit.  Strengthened by this power, we will do our best to show you love at work and try to cope patiently and lovingly with life’s challenges.  We are comforted by our belief that the sufferings of this life cannot be compared to the joys that await us in eternal life.  May our Lady of Sorrows walk with us on our way.  Amen.

Dear God 

Father, you gave St. Anthony the wisdom and grace to live and preach the gospel of Christ.  Help us to live the gospel life of love at work as he did.  Fill our hearts with your love that we may pursue unselfishly a sincere love of God and neighbor. May we be sensitive to your call and faithful to our baptismal promises.  May we imitate the life and work of St. Anthony and create a new world where the love of Jesus will be the rule and not the exception.  We make our prayer through Christ, our Lord.  Amen.

SBC42812-15        SBC42812-113        SBC42812-7

April 9-11, 2014

Steven and I made our third annual pilgrimage to the Solanus Casey Center and attended the three-day Lenten Journey in Faith, a truly memorable Franciscan Capuchin experience.

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April 16, 2014

“He who desires to go on advancing from virtue to virtue, from grace to grace, should meditate continually on the passion of Jesus” (St. Bonaventure).


Links of interest…  Easter/Lent (meditations)…  Holy Week: 1st four days / Triduum…  Prayer before the cross / a crucifix…  Praying Lent…  Resurrection (YouTube)…  St. Francis…  Stations of the Cross: about / devotions / fish eaters / for families / for kids / how to do / origins / prayers (video/music) / printables / puppet show (YouTube) / significance / way of the cross…  Via Crucis at the Colosseum with Pope Francis

WP posts…  Bearing one’s crosses…  Concrete abstraction…  Connected tangents…  Dear God…  God’s master plan…  Growing pains…  Kateri’s sainthood…  Lady of sorrows…  Lenten meditations…  Lenten reflections…  Lenten resources…  Mercy and justice…  Prayerful ways…  Revisiting St. Simon…  Seven dwelling places…  Sioux chapel stations…  Simple yet profound…  Solano, Solanus, Solani…  St. Bonaventure Church…  St. Joseph’s chapel…  Sweet Jesus…  Today’s Beatitudes…  Two angels…  Two letters…  Two prompt replies…  Venerable Margaret

Teresa of Avila

All this week I’ve been ready to write my post on Teresa of Avila (Washington Province of Discalced Carmelites, Inc., 1979), a book based on selections from The Interior Castle (Avila, 1577); but I’ve dilly-dallied in octopus mode while mentally preparing.

Why can’t I just start writing?  Reading the book I had lots of ideas. so why am I at a loss for words?  Maybe the ol’ pea brain’s too full?  Maybe the dendrites need time to process all I want to write?  Maybe I need to familiarize myself with St. Teresa a bit more?  Something’s missing, but how can this be? 

So much of what I read and hear daily reminds me of her.  So much of what Teresa of Avila wrote resonates with meaning.

Oblivious devotion

Take Sunday afternoon, for instance.

As Steven was covering the garden area with newspapers I was totally absorbed hosing them down to keep them from blowing away.  Then— suddenly— I realized, OMG, I’m standing kissing close to the yaupon holly!  

“Darling, do these bees sting?”

“Oh, yes, they do!  But they’re too busy doing their own thing.  Do you know that some believe the yaupon holly’s honey is the best there is?  It fetches a pretty penny, too.”

I’m so close to the tree that I’m at eye level among these bees!!!  I’m standing here making noise with the water hose, and they’re totally oblivious of me.  They could very easily sting me, but they’re wholly engrossed in what they love.  OMG!  What a perfect metaphor for what St. Teresa wrote!

Recurring thoughts

From the moment I began reading her book St. Teresa has kept my mind engaged— wondering, visualizing, making meaning— through key words and phrases heard and/or read elsewhere in the media, too.  For instance, a yellow post-it with humility underlined and a reference to Sirach 3:17-30 has graced my computer desk for the past six weeks.  Similarly, surrendering oneself to God has cropped up in readings, homilies, conversations, and other communications during that time.

Funny— isn’t it— how these not so sublime messages avail themselves so readily just in case they’ve been disregarded as insignificant or misplaced in one’s long-term memory.

Timely response

Yesterday morning I searched for prayers to the Venerable Solanus Casey.  Someone had arrived at my “Solano, Solanus, Solani” post through the search term 2nd class relic of Fr. Solanus Casey so I conducted a search of my own, ended up on the Father Solanus Guild website, and found some great links.  And prayers.  

“Yet, knowing how way leads on to way” (Frost, 1915), the ol’ pea brain did what it does best, merrily short-circuiting onto another tangent.

Is there a special St. Teresa of Avila prayer?  I need to find it.

Then the afternoon mail brought a lovely booklet from Father Robert.  

Perfect nudge

I read through Simple Ways to Pray (Franciscan Mission Associates, B-34) and chuckled heartily when I got to the back cover.

God has a very weird sense of humor when it comes to me, so I took St. Teresa of Avila’s prayer as his perfectly timed nudge.

Start writing already!!! 

July 12, 2013

Holy Spirit, watch over me today.  Remind me of all the reasons I have to trust God.  Nudge me when you want me to speak.  Open my heart, Lord, and widen my horizons (the Word among us, July/August 2013, p. 31).

June 2, 2014

Be attentive, O God, when I am neglecting my time with you, time for reflection on your Word and time to rest with you in silence.  Create in me a faithful spirit that is always open to your gentle nudges when I get distracted or too busy (Sister Maria Tasto, OSB).

March 3, 2015

Let nothing disturb you, nothing cause you fear.  All things pass; God is unchanging.  Patience obtains all.  Whomever has God needs nothing else; God alone suffices (St. Teresa of Avila).

October 5, 2015

“I suggest that you pray to Our Lord that he assist you and give you the direction you need” (Blessed Marie-Rose Durocher).

November 27, 2015

We need to look close and listen to hear the voice of God….  God speaks to us in gentle, simple, random ways.  Just as we notice nature signaling the change of seasons— first subtly, then obviously— we should be keenly attuned to the sure signs of God nudging us and challenging us to become signs of the kingdom.  Plant seeds of compassion within me, Lord (Patricia Russell).

September 3, 2016

Do not follow where the path may lead.  Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail (Muriel Strode).

September 28, 2016

“Humility is nothing but truth, and pride is nothing but lying” (St. Vincent de Paul).

“Humility is nothing other than the conviction that God is God and only God— and that man is man, and nothing but man” (Romano Guardini, The Rosary of Our Lady).

May 30, 2017

The road of life twists and turns and no two directions are ever the same.  [Our] lessons come from the journey, not the destination (Don Williams Jr.).

National Shrine of St. Maximilian Kolbe – Libertyville, IL

Links of interest…  Celebration Publications: Free articles  / Today’s Daily Bread…  Father Solanus Guild…  Franciscan Mission Associates…  The road not taken (Frost, 1916; quotes)…  Interior castle: St. Teresa’s diamond…  Saintly sixsolutions to life’s common problems…  Sisters of St. Benedict (IN):  Monday messagesprayer requests / virtual tour / ways of praying / website…  Sit a spell & have a chat…  St.Teresa of Avila: about (more) / biography (more) / book (more) / chaplet / doctor (first woman) / feast day / foundress / frases / friendship with Jesus / headaches / heart of a warriorhistory / holiness & works / interior castle (more / video) / litany / memorial / mysticnovena / poems / prayers / quotessaint (more) / tribute (movie) / videos…  What Robert Frost taught me about feeling alone…  Yaupon holly: honey / tree

WP posts…  Budding relationships…  Christmas year ’round…  Connected tangents…  Gift of love…  Growing pains…  Holy relics…  In good time…  Making meaning…  On being Christian…  Prayer…  Promise of hope…  Prayerful ways…  Santo Niño…  Seven dwelling places…  Solano, Solanus, Solani…  Soulful…  Sweet Jesus…  Two letters…  Two prompt replies…  Venerable Margaret

Holy relics

On Valentine’s Day 2009, Junebug and Gary (left) and the lovely Ning and Sam joined us for a special dinner.  And, as usual, “the gang”— our family through Why Catholic? at St. Paul’s in Flour Bluff— had a fantabulous time!


Junebug’s prompting

That evening Junebug excitedly told us about visiting a chapel with the Legion of Mary.  She didn’t recall its name or much else other than having been (and still is) in awe of all the relics there.  “You just have to go see it!  It’s such a special place!” Junebug remarked, adding that she’d never known about relics until then.

“I know just what you mean!” I said.  “I didn’t know anything about relics until I received mine from Father Roderick.  And I treasured them until I gave them away.  Thanks so much for telling me about the chapel!  I’ll have to visit to take photos for my blog.”

Elusive treasure

Junebug’s exuberant insistence that I “visit the chapel out by the Lexington” stayed with me until May of last year.  That’s when, in driving around trying to locate it, I accidentally stumbled across the small, well-kept chapel on the corner of who knows where in the vicinity of the USS Lexington.

Yet, within moments my joy downgraded a couple of degrees.  Our Lady Star by the Sea was locked, and no one was at its adjacent office.

To further dampen my enthusiasm, I’d forgotten my Coolpix; so I had to rely on my antiquated cell phone to photograph the chapel’s exterior.  Not a good idea at all, I found out later, ’cause I couldn’t email the photos to my Yahoo account.

Still, things worked out fine.  I learned the name of the chapel and its location, so the visit wasn’t a total loss.

Now it’s just a matter of attending weekend Mass, Saturday at five-thirty or Sunday at nine, so I can finally see the relics that catapulted Junebug into OMG mode.

Shared keepsakes

Like Junebug, I’d never known about holy relics until— surprise, surprise— I received two third-class St. Anthony relics in the mail from Father Roderick, head of Franciscan Mission Associates (FMA) at the time.

A relic is an object or a personal item of religious significance, carefully preserved with an air of veneration as a tangible memorial….  A third-class relic is any object that is touched to a first- or second-class relic.  Most third-class relics are small pieces of cloth (Wikipedia, 2011).

“Relics refer to the body tissues of saints, items worn or used by them, and things that have come in contact with the originals” (Father James G. Ward, CM in the Association of the Miraculous Medal Bulletin, October 2010, p. 3).

The veneration of relics, most strictly the material remains of a saint or holy person after his death, has a long tradition in the Catholic Church….  St. Thomas Aquinas would explain that the relics “excite to love.”  It is really the saint who is being honored, and the relic assists the giving of that honor through both a visible sign and a physical link with the saint (St. Anthony Shrine, 2009).

I treasured my two St. Anthony relics but eventually gave them away to a couple of acquaintances whose life stories were filled with such despair that I thought the relics would give them hope.

By then Father Robert had become director of FMA, so I wrote him a letter requesting another relic and— wouldn’t you know it— he sent two that I carried with me, knowing I’d give them away as well.

St. Anthony chaplets

August, 2010, I gifted my two relics to Sabrina (left) and Ruth (right) with a note in the St. Anthony booklet that I created specially for them.

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Segy, our youngest, has always said, “The best gifts are those I want so very badly to keep but give away instead.”

In 1998, I wrote to Father Robert at Franciscan Mission Associates.

In 1985, Father Roderick sent me two St. Anthony relics.  But, over the years, as I met others in great need, I gave them away.  And now that I don’t have one, I feel empty.  So may I please have another relic?

And I was surprised, just as I’d been the first time, to receive not one but two.  But, even though I’ve treasured my two relics all this time, I’ve always wondered when the time would come that I’d have to part with them again as before.

Looking through my Companion Prayers booklet on July 22nd, I suddenly took note of the St. Anthony chaplet prayers and the Miraculous Responsory for the first time.  I’d added the latter to my “St. Anthony” post, but it just hadn’t registered till that moment.

I decided to customize a chaplet just right for me and attach not a regular medal, but the St. Anthony relic I’d carried around all these years.

Then I had an epiphany.

Since I had a second relic still in its original little bag I thought, Ruth and Sabrina!  I’ll bead three identical chaplets, place the relics on theirs, and use a different St. Anthony medal on mine.  I’ll write to Father Robert again and request another relic for my chaplet.  Hopefully, he’ll send two.

Sooo…  On Tuesday, July 23rd, I began using the chaplets.  I’ve taken turns with each one so that, when you pray on your own, you’ll know I’m praying with you, too.

Heart’s desire

FMA8410aI have to admit that it was very difficult to part with my last two
St. Anthony relics.  In fact, that’s what kept me from beading the chaplets sooner.  God knew how I felt, though.

Right when I was having serious qualms about giving them away, I received a perfectly timed relic prayer card in the mail from FMA.

In the days that followed I internalized what I’ve experienced before: God always knows and provides just what we need (Matthew 6:8).

Hold your eyes on God and leave the doing to him.  That is all the doing you have to worry about (St. Jane Frances de Chantal).

Holy relics

How amazing that, since finding Our Lady Star by the Sea and gifting my St. Anthony relics, I’ve become aware of other holy relics: St. Elizabeth Seton’s at Sacred Heart Church in Nacogdoches, Venerable Margaret Parigot’s on Sister’s prayer card from the Flower of Carmel Monastery in Australia, St. Peregrine’s through Father Ralph at Stella Maris in Lamar, and Venerable Julia Navarrete’s through Sister Maxie at the Missionary Daughters’ Solemn Place of Prayer in Kingsville.  Then, as a very special gift from the Anthonians in November, I received a seventy-five minute video commemorating the exhibition of St. Anthony’s remains at the Basilica in Padua, Italy.

So I have to wonder…

Has parting with my treasured St. Anthony relics helped me find more along the way?




May 13, 2011

Joyfully, I received Venerable Father Casey’s relic badge, which I showed Junebug at Michael’s Confirmation.  I’ll be ordering another to surprise her with, as I think it’ll make her day.


September 13, 2011

Wow!  How amazing is it to find right here on my computer desk exactly what I’ve wanted for months?  To think that I’ve had St. Jude’s relic for a very long time and didn’t even know it till this morning.

Will wonders never cease!

October 4, 2011

I just received a letter from Franciscan Mission Associates in time for All Souls Day.  Father Primo has replaced Father Robert, who served for the past fifteen years.  I guess it’s time to write that letter I’ve been putting off and wish Father Robert well on the next chapter in his book of life.


If you’d like to request a St. Anthony relic, contact Franciscan Mission Associates at P.O. Box 598, Mt. Vernon, NY 10551-0598.

January 21, 2012

Steven and I drove to Stella Maris for the second time, and we arrived early enough to converse with Father Ralph before evening Mass.  I asked if he had his St. Peregrine first-class relic, and he did!  What a thrilling experience to hold it and pray for his intercession.


January 22, 2012

I went by Mary Ellen’s house to drop off both her St. Anthony relic chaplet and her Child Jesus chaplet, and she showed me the third-class relic she has of the nun who founded the Incarnate Word Order.  I didn’t have my camera with me, so I’ll take a photo another time.

April 8, 2012

I finally got the chance to take the photos of Mary Ellen’s third-class relic of Venerable Jeanne Chézard de Matel (1596-1670), foundress of the Incarnate Word (IWBS) Order.

Oh, happy day!


April 29, 2012

“Be careful what you wish for” certainly comes to mind, only in a good way this time.

On revisiting the Dominican Shrine of Saint Jude Thaddeus at St. Pius V in Chicago, I discovered a treasure overlooked in the past.  St. Jude’s first-class relic!  His arm!


July 2, 2012

What unexpected surprises!  St. Teresa of Avila relics from Sister in Australia!


September 29, 2012

From Sister, timely St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus treasures received for October 1st!


January 13, 2013

Steven and I visited the Tepeyac Shrine in San Antonio for the second time and discovered that the Grotto Sanctuary has a first-class relic: Part of St. Eugene de Mazenod’s heart!

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February 10, 2013

??????????This morning Steven fell out as a Knight of Columbus participating in the veneration of José Sánchez del Río’s first-class relic at Immaculate Conception Church in Taft, TX.  Ten o’clock Mass was followed, first, by a procession around the neighborhood and then by visits to the front of the altar to spend one-on-one time in prayer with the relic.

Worth noting is that Joselito died eighty-five years ago today.

June 14-16, 2013

When Steven learned that Father Mario from the Basilica of St. Anthony in Padua, Italy would be in Rockford, IL, he quickly made plans for us to attend Mass and the veneration of St. Anthony’s first-class relics at St. Anthony of Padua Church.  And we had a phenomenal time!

Father Mario captivated all of us with wonderful stories about St. Anthony and gifted many present with relics touched to St. Anthony’s tongue.  In the photo on the left, the reliquary in the forefront holds tissue from inside St. Anthony’s cheek; the one on the altar, part of his floating rib.

Before Father Mario retired for the evening, he did something totally unexpected: He blessed Steven and me with the small reliquary!

We were so taken with Father Mario that I wanted to bring him home with us, but he has places to go and people to see.  Building community within God’s kingdom is what traveling with St. Anthony is all about, so they’re off to Great Britain next.

SAP61413s-56        StA73113b        StA73113a

The following morning, despite the pounding rain and the heavy traffic, we made our way back to Chicago where we not only spent time at the Dominican Shrine of St. Jude at St. Pius V (like last year), but also visited the Claretian National Shrine of St. Jude at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church.

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Then we drove to Detroit where we attended nine o’clock Mass at St. Bonaventure Church on Sunday and delighted in the Solanus Casey Center the entire day.

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What an extraordinary experience!

July 1, 2013

Oh, happy day!  St. Pio’s relic!  Thank you, Sister dearest!

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November 21, 2013

Surprise, surprise!  In today’s mail, I received a treasure trove from our niece.

Found this [tiny, old envelope].  Thought of you.  Not sure what it is, but you will know.  Love you.  Sue

Um, yes!  Not one, but two relic badges of then Servant of God, now Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos who needs only one more step to reach sainthood.

After a brief period of parish ministry in Detroit, Michigan, he was assigned in 1866 to the Redemptorist community in New Orleans, Louisiana.  Here also, as pastor of the Church of St. Mary of the Assumption, he was known as a pastor who was joyously available to his faithful and singularly concerned for the poorest and the most abandoned.  However, his ministry in New Orleans was destined to be brief. In September of that year, exhausted from visiting and caring for victims of yellow fever, he contracted the disease.  After several weeks, he died on October 4, 1867, at the age of forty-eight years and nine months (Wikipedia, 2013).

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March 28, 2014

Hip hip hooray!  An unexpected St. Anthony relic from the Anthonians!

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April 18, 2014

Thanks to Diana at Franciscan Mission Associates for expeditiously sending me not just the lovely relic for Sid’s St. Anthony chaplet, but also the prayer card!  Sidney Davis, whom we met at the Solanus Casey Center last week, loved his priceless treasures!

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May 24, 2014

Thanks to Father Thomas Franks, OFM-Cap for St. Pio’s precious relic!  The Shrine of St. Pio of Pietrelcina is located at the Church of St. John the Baptist in New York City.  (The address is on “Credits” page.) 

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October 11, 2014

Thanks again, Father Tom, for the wonderful relic cards from St. Pio’s shrine!

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November 9, 2015

“For even now miracles are wrought in the name of Christ, whether by his sacraments or by the prayers or relics of his saints” (St. Augustine).

Links of interest…  Legion of Mary…  Our Lady Star of the Sea Parish: diocese page / parishes online…  Relics: about (chapelmore – why we venerate them) / altar of (St. Elizabeth Ann Seton) / badge (Venerable Solanus Casey) / feast (more) / first-class / four categories / holy / how to venerateincorruptibles (how can a corpse be incorruptible – saints) / more than I thought I’d ever know (blog post) / of the past & the present / priest martyrs of Mexico / process of beatification & canonization / remains / sacred artifacts / saints / what is…  St. Anthony: basilica (virtual tour) / bones a guide to the living / relics (on display in Padua)…  St. Paul the Apostle Church: facebook / website…  Why Catholic

WP posts…  St. Anthony of Padua: Saint of miracles / Si quaeris miracula…  St. Eugene de Mazenod: Heart of hearts / Memory lane…  St. Elizabeth Seton: Right at home…  St. José Sánchez del Río: Honoring Joselito…  St. Jude: Forever grateful / October novenaSt. Anthony Claret / St. Jude novena…  St. Peregrine: Healing service / Memorable as ever / Powerful intercessor / Prayers and blessings / Saintly connections / Stella Maris / St. Peregrine relic…  St. Teresa of Avila: Gift of love / Seven dwelling places…  St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus: Budding relationships…  Venerable Father Casey: Capuchin church stations / God’s master plan / Mercy and justice / Solano, Solanus, Solani / St. Bonaventure Church…  Today’s Beatitudes…  Venerable Julia Navarrete (of the thorns of the Sacred Heart)…  Venerable Margaret (of the Blessed Sacrament)…  What I learned by caring for holy relics

Solano, Solanus, Solani


I’ve had St. Francis Solanus on the brain since we met online this past summer.  Call it a crescendoing mix of awe and discomforting disequilibrium, so it wasn’t just the miracles that hooked me.  Finding conflicting information on Solanus fueled both my confusion and my need to know, but I was too busy to look for answers at the time.

In the months that followed I was pestered by the same questions.  Why does Solanus have different backgrounds and dates of birth?  Are there two?  If so, what’s the connection?  And why do I need to know this?

Then, Sunday afternoon while reading the news online, Solanus derailed my train of thought.  Just like that I went into search-and-find mode to clear up my Solani misconceptions… and became even more smitten with curiosity than before.


First, St. Francis Solano (or Solanus, 1547-1610), a Spanish Franciscan missionary, fervently believed in the power of Baptism and went to extreme measures to safeguard and Christianize the indigenous.  And he was quite a miracle worker, too.

According to St. Francis Solanus— Apostle to America (Royer, 1955), miracles included saving a group of slaves drowning at sea; preaching in a language different from that of various South American tribes yet being understood simultaneously; bringing a five-year-old girl back to life after she died from a fall; crossing a wide river in an unconventional manner; traveling without provisions but always arriving well taken care of; and converting nine thousand South American natives during one sermon.

St. Francis Solano was canonized in 1726, and his feast day is July fourteenth.


Second, Father Barney Francis Casey (1870-1957), the sixth of sixteen children, was born to Irish immigrants on a farm near Oak Grove, Wisconsin.  His academic challenges kept him from becoming a diocesan priest, but he persisted in the call of service when Our Lady told him to go to Detroit.  Father Casey took the name Solanus when he joined the Capuchin Order at St. Bonaventure Monastery in 1897.

Although disallowed from formal preaching and hearing confessions, Father Casey was known not only for delivering feverinos— spiritual fires which gained him many listeners and ardent supporters— but also for always making time for those who sought his assistance and guidance.  Daily, he visited with 150 to 200 people who flocked to him for special favors— cures from illnesses, relief from economic woes, and many such miracles— that, in twenty-one years’ time, he filled seven notebooks with more than six-thousand requests for help from petitioners!

Again and again, in his letters, [Father Solanus Casey] repeated his life’s message— that confidence in God is the very soul of prayer and becomes the condition for supernatural intervention in our lives.  “God condescends to use our powers if we don’t spoil his plans by ours” (Baulach, 1996).

In 1995, Father Casey was deemed Venerable; on November 18, 2017, Blessed.  His feast day is July 30.


What a gift!  Not one but two Solani miracle workers.  They loved those they served and were loved in return.

When you love people you see all the good in them, all the Christ in them.  God sees Christ, his son, in us and loves us.  And so we should see Christ in others and nothing else, and love them (Servant of God Dorothy Day, 1897-1980).

May 13, 2011

Oh, my, gosh!  After waiting a long time, I finally received Father Casey’s relic badge and a prayer card in the mail today!  I’m so excited!

If you’d like a relic badge, you can easily request one.  Whether you email, write, or call, please remember that a donation will offset the postage and help the Father Solanus Guild with its various projects within the community.  The address is 1780 Mt. Elliott, Detroit MI 48207-3427; the phone number, 1.313.579.2100.



June 11, 2011

FrSolanusGuild-forms-51311aOh, happy day!  I received my lifetime membership certificate along with the items I ordered— photos, books, and more— from the Father Solanus Guild!  And my order included a relic badge and a prayer card, too.

FrSolanusGuild-forms-51311b        FrSolanusGuild-forms-51311c

FrC-pamphlet-a        SCC61613-81        FrC-pamphlet-e

FrC-pamphlet-b        FrC-pamphlet-c        FrC-pamphlet-d

April 28, 2012

Oh, yes!  At long last another wish came true!  Steven and I spent most of the day at the Solanus Casey Center in Detroit.  I even sat at Father Casey’s desk.  Wow!  What an incredible pilgrimage!  Joseph Taylor, our self-appointed guide, made our visit truly unforgettable.  We can hardly wait to be there again!









November 5, 2012

There’s something about loving God with our whole heart that naturally flows into loving other people.  Perhaps it is because God has created us in his own image.  There’s a picture of him, a treasure from him, in each of us.  So when we see each other, we are seeing a reflection of the Lord.  Or maybe it’s because God loves each of us with such fierce devotion that for us not to share that love with each other would be an offense to him.  Or maybe it’s both! (the Word among us, November 2012, p. 23).

April 6, 2013

Jesus, thank you for inviting me to become your companion.  Show me how to share your love with the people around me (the Word among us, April 2013, p. 26).

May 18, 2013

“Lord, your sheep are all so different!”

“That’s right.  And I love each one in a unique way.  Set your heart on loving me, entrust others to me, and I’ll show you the way.”

Jesus, I want to follow you with all my heart.  Show me the way! (the Word among us, May 2013, p. 37).

October 19, 2013

My hope is in God who does not need our help to accomplish his designs.  We must endeavor to be faithful to him (St. Isaac Jogues).

September 5, 2014

I want you to find the poor here, right in your own home first.  And begin love there.  Be that good news to your own people.  And find out about your next-door neighbor[s]— do you know who they are? (Blessed Teresa of Calcutta).

September 17, 2014

“Above all, always see Jesus in every person and, consequently, treat each one not only as an equal and as a brother or sister, but also with great humility, respect, and selfless generosity” (Blessed Charles de Foucauld).

September 18, 2014

“If God were our one and only desire, we would not be so easily upset when our opinions do not find outside acceptance” (Thomas à Kempis).

October 6, 2014

“Love God above all so that, warmed by his embrace, you may be aflame with divine love” (St. Bruno).

June 22, 2017

“Give me, good Lord, such a love for you that I will love nothing in a way that displeases you; and I will love everything for your sake” (St. Thomas More).

November 5, 2017

True humility and obedience have to do with putting others— God and people— ahead of oneself.  Blessed Solanus Casey lived those words.  Near the end of his life, he said, “I look on my whole life as giving, and I want to give and give until there is nothing left of me to give.  God knows best and, while we’ll still hope for a favorable surprise, we can hardly do better than not only being resigned to whatever God permits but, even beforehand, to thank him for his mercifully loving designs” (Joel R. Schorn in God’s Doorkeepers: Padre Pio, Solanus Casey and André Bessette).


Solanus Casey Center – Detroit, MI

Links of interest…  6 things that happen after Father Solanus Casey’s beatification in Detroit…  7 pilgrimages you can go on right now…  8 practices of a good pilgrimage…  Capuchin Franciscans: blog / website…  Franciscan calendar: national fraternity / printable / saintstraditional…  On fire till the end…  Praying with fire from above (podcast)…  Solanus Casey: about / article / beatification: set for November – televised 11.18.17 / blog / books / Capuchin / cards / center / devotion / doorkeeper / ecards / example of Christian rebuilding / favors / garden (paver) / guild / healed my sister / humble disciple, tireless servantlegacy / man who shed his ego / many miraclesmeets Father Flanagan, SOLT / memorial / message / mystic / opening the door to miracles / ordination / photos / pilgrims & porters / prayer / priest / red-blooded American miracle worker / relic badge (story) / saint / saintmaker / simple man / story / venerable / vocation / words of wisdom (daily audio readings)…  Solanus Casey Center: American priest who will be beatified next weekanniversary & novena / Beatitude people (videos) / home / live streamshrine / virtual tour / Year of Mercy video presentations & study guide (ordered and/or online)…  St. Francis Solano: about / life / mission / missionary / violin player…  Surprising case of Solanus Casey…  Thank God ahead of time…  Visit to Venerable Fr. Solanus Casey…  What is the Franciscan spirit…  the Word among us

WP posts…  Capuchin church stations…  God’s master plan…  Holy relics…  Mercy and justice…  St. Bonaventure Church…  St. Felix…  Today’s Beatitudes