Every year during Advent the church I attend makes available little blue booklets filled with daily reflections on the Sunday readings. Also included are tidbits of information ranging from cultural or historical aspects of Christmas traditions to the lives of saints and other important people in the Church. For December 8 this year, the feast of the Immaculate Conception, the little blue book had a short biography of Venerable Fr. Solanus Casey.
On the feast of the Immaculate Conception in 1896, a former prison guard and lumberjack named Barney Casey began a novena. He felt his life was at a crossroads.
His desire was to become a priest, but he had family obligations to fulfill first. Finally, when he was in his mid-20s he entered the seminary. But, he struggled in his classes and was asked to leave a year later. Was he discouraged? Probably. Did he give up? No.
Praying, he felt the Blessed Mother’s presence and heard a voice saying “Go to Detroit.” Trusting in our Lord, that’s what he did. He entered St. Bonaventure Monastery and took the name Solanus after St. Frances Solanus, a missionary, who like Barney, played the violin.
Solanus continued to struggle in his classes, but he was ordained in 1904. However, he was forbidden from preaching formal sermons or hearing confessions. Was he discouraged? Maybe. Did he become bitter or resentful because he was not given as much responsibility as other ordained priests? No. He still trusted in the Lord. He was sent to New York for 20 years and then returned to St. Bonaventure in 1924, becoming a porter (a receptionist and doorkeeper).
Soon stories of his compassion and his performing ‘miracles’ began to surface. During more than two decades as a porter, he received over 6,000 requests for help as his reputation for holiness became widespread.
There’s a lesson for all of us here. God has a purpose for each one of us. Sometimes the truly powerful, in God’s eyes, in the spiritual realm, are those that struggle here on earth and may not be deemed worthy of power in men’s eyes, in this earthly realm.
Source: The Little Blue Book: Advent and Christmas Seasons 2012-2013, 2012. Based on the writings of Bishop Ken Untener. Compiled by Catherine Haven with the help of Sr. Nancy Ayotte.
Read Full Post »