Bernard Casey was born the sixth child of sixteen to Irish Catholic farmers in Wisconsin. Later, his work as a lumberjack, a prison guard and a trolley motorman left a longing to serve the Lord unsatisfied. Upon witnessing a stabbing, he knew that only in Christ's love would he attain reparation for himself and his fellow man.
He eventually joined the Capuchins, received the name Solanus and demonstrated boundless compassion. But study with the Capuchins left some doubt as to his academic strength and his superiors ordained him with limited capacities. This might have proven humiliating, but in God's plan this led to his true vocation. Assigned as the porter, or doorkeeper, he spent his time ministering those who came to the monastery. His advice facilitated the reform of many lives. Blessed with love for Christ and Mary, Fr. Solanus' intercession appears to have resulted in physical cures for many of his visitors. After a lifetime of giving, he gave his soul to Jesus Christ at the age of 86.
This icon depicts Fr. Solanus as so many knew him, greeting us as the porter of St. Bonaventure in Detroit. He stands in the poor, brown robes of the Franciscan, a man of charity and goodness. Fr. Solanus welcomes us with heartfelt kindness on a winter night. The bitter coldness outside contrasts with the caring warmth of the monastery inside. Knock and the door will open.
(This narrative is printed on the back of Note Cards. A copy is included with each plaque and photo.)
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