Solanus in Detroit

On June 17, I traveled to Detroit to join the cast of Solanus for two performances at Divine Child parish in Dearborn, Michigan.

The rest of the cast — comprised mostly of 7 families from Hudson, WI — had travelled by bus to Detroit on Thursday, June 17, arriving around 1 am Friday morning. Friday was a full day with construction of the set, a rehearsal and an evening performance. Then on Saturday, following an afternoon performance, we all loaded a bus and crossed Detroit to visit Saint Bonaventure’s, where Father Solanus Casey was the doorkeeper for many years. His tomb is there, in the midst of a new shrine and museum honoring his life and spirituality. The Capuchin friars were gracious hosts, serving a dinner for us and giving us a tour of the museum. After the evening, we returned to Divine Child to pack up the set until 1 am. Then we left early Sunday morning to return to our homes. Quite a 48-hour whirlwind tour.

It was inspiring to meet people whose families had met Fr. Solanus personally and/or had experienced answered prayers through his intercession. His simple spirituality, summed up in a way by his expression, “thank God ahead of time,” is really quite profound. As our culture becomes more driven by technology, I think we experience more and more the temptation to believe that our designs and plans are the most important thing. Fr. Solanus reminds us that God’s designs, often mysterious but always issuing from the heart of a loving Father, are in fact what matter most and what can bring us the greatest joy, if we can open our hearts to receive them.

At one point during our tour of the shrine, I rounded a corner to find Fr. Solanus’ tomb, surrounded by the children in our group who were gathered in silent prayer. It figures, I thought to myself, that young people would gravitate in a special way to this holy man. They would understand his wonder at the goodness of God, his joy, his gratitude, and his readiness to be a servant, no matter how humble the task. The scripture that immediately came to mind was Matthew 19:13, “Let the little children alone, and do not stop them from coming to me, for it is to such as these that the kingdom of Heaven belongs.”

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