Irish American Priest Beatified in Detroit
By Adam Farley, Deputy Editor
December / January 2018
Father Solanus Casey, a first-generation Irish American Capuchin priest, was beatified in Detroit in November, creating the possibility that he may become the first American-born male to become a saint. Casey is only the third person born in the U.S. to receive the title of “blessed,” the level below sainthood.
Casey’s beatification comes after a Panamanian woman was cured of a genetic skin disease following prayers she said over his tomb in Detroit earlier this year. “The beatification of Father 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 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.”
Casey was born in Oak Grove, Wisconsin in 1870, the sixth of ten boys and six girls born to Bernard James Casey from County Monaghan and Ellen Murphy from County Armagh. He joined the Capuchins in Detroit in 1896, serving for 20 years in New York City and returning to Detroit in 1924, before moving to Huntington, Indiana, in 1945, where he died in 1957. ♦
First Generation Irish America? In the sociology class I took at a Long Island collage in the late ’70s, I learned that an immigrant of any nationality who permanently settles in the U.S. in considered the First Generation of that family to become an American, and his/her children are the Second Generation – Americans. By the same token, if an immigrant becomes a Boston policeman, and his son and grandson follow in his footsteps, the grandson is a Third generation Boston cop of that family.