Detroit, Michigan, 1957
Thirty-eight-year-old Gladys Feighan is overjoyed, on a visit to St. John Hospital from her home in Utica, New York, to learn that Fr. Solanus Casey, “the best-loved man in Detroit,” is a patient there. It has been a dream of hers for years to get to Fr. Solanus, revered by so many as a living saint; but for some time his Capuchin Franciscan superiors at St. Bonaventure’s Monastery have made it hard for anyone to see the ailing eighty-six-year-old priest.
Before that, when he was “retired” to a Capuchin house in Huntington, Indiana, she had actually prepared to make a trip there, but both her physician and her pastor advised against travel because of her pregnancy.
Terrified to lose another baby, she had listened to them. And lost another child, she reflects sorrowfully.
Mrs. Feighan is a sufferer from the Rh blood factor. Like most women with this problem, her first pregnancy was normal. But since her first child, she has had one miscarriage and two babies born dead.
An acquaintance with a similar history made that trip to Indiana and has three more living children to show for it.
Now Gladys sees the brown hooded robe of a Capuchin in the corridor. Running after it, she begs the brother who is looking out for Fr. Solanus if she can please see the ill man “for just a few minutes.” Br. Gabriel can make no promises. Frail old Fr. Solanus has been brought in by ambulance, very sick with a skin infection, maybe dying. And people have no consideration. A woman who asked to see him for a minute stayed over half an hour. . . . The more Brother talks, the lower Gladys’s face falls. But in the end, he says he’ll go ask.
What he doesn’t tell Mrs. Feighan is that to ask is an empty formality with Fr. Solanus: in his fifty-three years as a Capuchin priest, he has never said no to seeing anyone, whether it was the middle of the night, the middle of his meal, or the 150th person of a day. The man has absolutely no instinct for self-preservation. Because of his great devotion to his vow of obedience, he accepts the restrictions placed on him by superiors who know the mobs coming, phoning, and writing for his prayers day after day, year after year, have taken the last drops of the holy old friar’s strength. But he has been heard to groan to himself, “Oh, why must they keep me from seeing the people?” To give himself to God by giving himself to others until there is nothing left is the one desire of his Christlike heart.
Read more at Catholic Exchange – http://catholicexchange.com/many-miracles-solanus-casey