Blessed Solanus Casey is on the path to sainthood in the Roman Catholic Church. If sainted, or canonized, Blessed Solanus would be the first U.S.-born male to be made a saint in the history of the Catholic Church.
The life and ministry of Blessed Solanus Casey, as well as his example of holiness, is a gift to the faithful around the world. As he lay dying, Fr. Solanus said to Fr. Gerald Walker, OFM Cap., “I looked on my whole life as giving, and I want to give until there is nothing left of me to give. So I prayed that, when I come to die, I might be perfectly conscious, so that with a deliberate act I can give my last breath to God.” At 11:00 the next morning, on the 53rd anniversary of his first Mass, July 31, 1957, suddenly Blessed Solanus opened his eyes wide, stretched out his arms and said clearly, “I give my soul to Jesus Christ.” He willingly gave his last breath to God.
At the funeral Mass, Fr. Gerald said, “His was a life of service and love for people like me and you. When he himself was not sick, he nevertheless suffered with and for you that were sick. When he was not physically hungry, he hungered with people like you. He had a divine love for people. He loved people for what he could do for them – and for God, through them.”
The Vice-Postulator for the Cause of Canonization for Blessed Solanus Casey is a member of the Province of St. Joseph of the Capuchin Order. The current Vice-Postulator is Fr. Edward Foley, Capuchin. The Vice-Postulator collects and investigates reports of favors attributable to the intercession of Blessed Solanus Casey. Such favors may include healings that defy medical/scientific explanation that happened following prayer to Blessed Solanus seeking his intercession. While the healing itself is attributable to God alone, it is through Blessed Solanus’ prayers in heaven on behalf of those who ask for his prayer on Earth that God’s work is brought to fulfillment.
The Vice-Postulator works closely with the Postulator-General, based at the Capuchin General Curia in Rome. When a favor report has been thoroughly investigated and is believed to have occured with no medical explanation and with Blessed Solanus Casey as the only saint or blessed to whom the person asked for intercession, then the case would proceed to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints at the Vatican for further review. Ultimately the Pope makes the final decision on whether or not a Blessed, such as Blessed Solanus, is to be canonized and recognized as a saint in the Catholic Church.
The office of the Vice-Postulator of the Cause for Canonization for Blessed Solanus Casey continues to receive reports of favors attributable to the intercession of Blessed Solanus Casey. Between October 26, 2020 and October 28, 2021, 50 such reports were received. We continue to ask those who may have experienced or witnessed a favor to notify us.
Capuchin Postulator General, Fr. Bernardine of Siena, appointed Fr. Paschal Siler as the first Vice-Postulator to begin to collect information about Fr. Solanus Casey’s life, works and ministry.
Br. Leo, formerly an assistant to Fr. Solanus in Detroit, would carry on the work of Fr. Paschal. As Vice-Postulator for almost four decades, Fr. Solanus was named Venerable and the Solanus Casey Center opened during his tenure as Vice-Postulator. In later years, Br. Leo was assisted by Br. Richard Merling.
Upon the death of Br. Leo in 2012, Capuchin Provincial Minister Fr. John Celichowski recommended Br. Richard Merling and Fr. Larry Webber as co-Vice Postulators of the Cause for Canonization, and they were appointed by Capuchin Postulator General Fr. Carlo Calloni. During their time as co-Vice Postulators, Fr. Solanus was beatified by Pope Francis in 2017.
With only one more step to sainthood, the Cause entered its final phase. Fr. Edward Foley was recommended by Capuchin Provincial Minister Fr. Michael Sullivan to serve as the Vice-Postulator in 2019 and appointed by Capuchin Postulator General Fr. Carlo Calloni.
The Vice-Postulator’s Office manages requests for relics. Based on guidelines from the Capuchin Postulator General, first-class relic requests are granted only for public devotion and require a written request from the pastor or rector of the worship site where the relic is to be venerated, along with a letter from the appropriate ordinary, such as the arch/bishop or provincial minister. To date, relic requests have been received from 20 states across the United States as well as 13 countries around the world.
First-Class Relics are a body part of a saint or blessed. These items are for public veneration only and are typically housed in a reliquary or monstrance.
A second-class relic is an item that touched the body of a saint or blessed. An example might include an article of worn clothing, a chair, a pen or a written document that the saint touched while living.
A third-class relic is an item that had contact with a second-class relic. The relic badges that the Father Solanus Guild makes available to the public have been touched to the tomb of Blessed Solanus Casey in Detroit, and are third-class relics.
Nota bene: At the direction of the Capuchin Postulator General in Rome, we no longer send third-class relics intended for destinations outside the United States.
Following the beatification of Blessed Solanus Casey in 2017, there have been more than 800,000 prayer requests submitted to the Solanus Casey Center in Detroit. Prayer requests are sent through this website, via social media, by phone and in writing at the Solanus Casey Center.
The official process of canonization, called a Cause, does not begin until five years after the death of the candidate. This period of time permits the Church to verify whether the candidate enjoys a true and widespread reputation of holiness and of intercessory prayer. When a Cause is officially recognized by Rome, the candidate receives the title “Servant of God.” Fr. Solanus was named “Servant of God” in 1982.
Rome investigates the candidate’s life of faith, spirituality and relationship to God and others. So when it has been proven that they have led a virtuous life to a heroic degree, they receive the title of Venerable. Blessed Solanus received this title in 1995. The church then suggests that the followers pray to the candidate asking for their intercession to God for blessings in their own lives or those of their loved ones. In our case, the Cause of Blessed Solanus documents reports of any exceptional favors received. If evidence can be shown and proven as being miraculous or unexplainable, then the case can be presented to Rome as a possible miracle to further the process.
In this case, the reported favor was investigated and was accepted by the church as being miraculous through the intercession of then Venerable Solanus. Pope Francis recognized this miracle in May 2017. This allowed public veneration of him as being a saintly and holy person and with that he received the title of “Blessed.” With this declaration, he was acknowledged as one who is in heaven, in union with God. After this decree there are now allowed Mass prayers and liturgical devotions to him – asking for his continued intercession with God for the needs of God’s people. The official decree of beatification is dated November 11, 2017, and his beatification was celebrated on November 18 of that year at Ford Field in Detroit with 70,000 in attendance.
The fourth step is to attain the title of Saint. Another favor, reported following the beatification of Blessed Solanus, has to be investigated and approved in the same manner as above to attain Sainthood.