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!

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SBC42812-94        SBC42812-422        SBC42812-93

SBC61613-97        SBC61613-37        SBC61613-99

SBC61613-41        SBC61613-78        SBC61613-44

SBC61613-98        SBC42812-97        SBC61613-31

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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

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 November fifth.


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

OMG!!!  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.

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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…  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