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BREAKING: Pope Francis announces Fr. Solanus Casey to be declared ‘blessed’

Fr. Solanus Casey is pictured in his Capuchin habit in this file photo. Pope Francis has approved a miracle attributed to the intercession of the venerable Detroit friar and signed a decree for his beatification — the second U.S.-born man to be declared “blessed” by the Church.

Pope Francis approves miracle attributed to beloved friar’s intercession, paving the way for Detroit’s champion of the poor to be named ‘blessed’

DETROIT — Sixty years after his death, Venerable Fr. Solanus Casey is on his way to sainthood.

Although Fr. Solanus was born in Oak Grove, Wis., in 1870, he spent most of his adult life and ministry in Detroit, caring for the sick, poor and downtrodden and lending a listening ear and caring heart to the thousands who came to him for counsel, wisdom and aid.Pope Francis announced May 4 that Detroit’s beloved Capuchin friar has met the requirements for beatification and will be named “blessed” — the second U.S.-born man to achieve such a designation and the first person from Michigan.

Among the hundreds — if not thousands — of healings attributed to Fr. Solanus during and after his lifetime, Pope Francis recognized the authenticity of a miracle necessary for the friar to be elevated from “venerable” to “blessed” after a thorough review by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Causes of Saints, including panels of doctors and theologians, was completed earlier this year.

“The beatification of Fr. Solanus Casey is an incomparable grace for the Church in the Archdiocese of Detroit and for the whole community of Southeast Michigan,” Detroit Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron said in a statement. “He is an inspiration to all us Catholics – and to all – of the power of grace to transform one’s life.”

According to a news release, the miracle needed to raise Fr. Solanus to “blessed” involved a woman with an incurable genetic skin disease. The woman was visiting friends in Detroit and stopped at Fr. Solanus’ tomb to pray for others’ intentions. After her prayers, she felt the strong urging to ask for the friar’s intercession for herself, too, and received an instant and visible healing.

The miraculous nature of her cure was verified by doctors in her home country, in Detroit and in Rome, all of whom confirmed there was no scientific explanation.

In a blessed coincidence — or perhaps not — Fr. Solanus himself died of a skin disease in 1957.

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