Blessed Solanus Casey (November 25, 1870 – July 31, 1957) was a priest and a Capuchin Friar. He struggled mightily in school as a boy and as a result he was told that he would only be ordained as a “simplex Priest,” unable to preach or hear confessions. Undeterred, he pressed on, and while reflecting in front of a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary, he heard a voice telling him to “go to Detroit.” Soon thereafter he applied and was received into the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin. He served as a porter at several Capuchin friaries in New York and Michigan and is remembered for his gentleness, kindness, and humility.
As the porter – or doorkeeper – he extended a warm welcome to all visitors of the friary. Casey had a special passion for ministering to the sick and poor and helped open Capuchin Soup Kitchen in 1929 to provide food for Detroit’s poor during the Great Depression. On a typical Wednesday, Casey would visit with 150-200 sick men and women who came to receive his blessings; many consider him instrumental in healing their ailments and curing their sicknesses. Casey was beatified at Ford Field on November 18, 2017 after Pope Francis confirmed that Casey was responsible for a miraculous healing.
The Casey crest, like Casey himself, is simple but meaningful. The open hands represent Casey’s welcoming, nurturing nature and his position as porter. Adjacent to the hands is a violin, signifying Casey’s love of music and a talent he developed to play Irish songs for his fellow Friars. At the bottom of the crest is the symbol of the Capuchin Friars, the Order to which Casey belonged. There are apple blossoms – Michigan’s state flower – throughout the crest, a reference to the state in which Casey served longest. Deo Gratias – “Thanks be to God” – is included on the banner across the crest because Casey often urged people to “Thank God ahead of time” for His manifold blessings.
“Worry is a weakness from which very few of us are entirely free. We must be on guard against this most insidious enemy of our peace of soul. Instead, let us foster confidence in God, and thank Him ahead of time for whatever He chooses to send us.”