Oblate Program at Belmont Abbey, NC

Fr. Solanus Casey Guild: An Interview with Br. Edward

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Brother Edward, a Belmont Abbey monk and guestmaster at the monastery, just launched the new Fr. Solanus Casey Guild which is dedicated to the beatification of Fr. Solanus Casey. Br. Edward has been a monk of Belmont Abbey for over 8 years, and says he wants to share the peace of following God’s will with others by teaching them to know and love God.

He says “I looked at the back of the book (referring to the Fr. Solanus Casey book) and noticed that it was $1.25. You break that up into 5 quarters and dropped one of those quarters into a puddle and it ripples out to infinity which is heaven and God’s work.” When someone comes to visit the guild, Br. Edward usually asks “Have you dropped your rock yet?”  The rock symbolizes the heavy burden or load of temptations, anxieties and distractions that we all carry around with us. Once you say yes to Jesus and thanks to God, it’s time to drop that backpack, or rock, and the burden is replaced with happiness.

We are all fans of saints and their miracles. Fr. Solanus is no exception. A student at our college, whose name Br. Edward did not disclose to protect his privacy, has an uncle who was a Capuchin in seminary. Coincidentally, or as Br. Edward says “God-incidentally”, Fr. Solanus was visiting in the same seminary during the latter stage of his life. Having heard about Fr. Solanus’s miracles, the uncle told Fr. Solanus that his grandmother had terminal cancer. Fr. Solanus said to take him to her. He prayed for her, and two days later the doctor said that there was no need for her to be in the hospital anymore and that she was completely cured. Among Fr. Solanus' other miracles are over 700 cases of healing, including blindness and cancer.

One of Fr. Solanus’s favorite sayings was that, “Every day is Christmas. Christ child is born in your heart every day.” He proved this by his strong faith in God and by renewing his faith every day. After struggling through seminary, Fr. Solanus was finally ordained as a simplex priest because of the holiness he had displayed.  A simplex priest is a man in holy orders who can celebrate Mass but not hear confessions or give homilies.

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“What really drew me to Fr. Solanus was the fact that he was so obedient. His humility is what led him to perform miracles,” says Br. Edward. He also says that as a Benedictine monk there are three vows they have to take; obedience, stability and conversatio morum, which means a "conversion of life" in latin. “Out of all the vows, obedience is the toughest,” he says. “People always say to become number one. To be obedient is very hard. Fr. Solanus’s obedience always struck me. He became my role model.” From the beginning of the day to the end, Fr. Solanus always said “thanks be to God” and always remained recollected.  Speaking of Fr. Solanus' spirit of humble recollection, Fr. Benedict Groeschel, CFR, an EWTN TV show host, once remarked that Fr. Solanus' holiness surpassed even that of John Paul II and Mother Teresa.

The guild meets every first Sunday of every month at 2:00 pm in the Mezzanine. Br. Edward also invites everyone to join him to “drop a rock” at the "pond" on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 11:00 am-to 11:30 am in the Campus Ministry. I happened to stop by for this activity and we prayed for the intentions of those affected by the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the poor, hungry and suffering of our world, and for the conversion of the world to accept God’s divine plan.

The two prayers are below. The first is a prayer for Fr. Solanus' canonization:

Father, I adore You. I give myself to You. May I be the person you want me to be and may Your will be done in my life today. Thank you for the gifts you gave to Father Solanus. If it is Your will, glorify him on earth so that others  will carry on his love for the poor, lonely  and suffering in our world. In order that others will joyfully accept your divine plan, I ask You to hear this prayer (intention) through Christ, our Lord. Amen

And the second is a prayer composed by Fr. Solanus himself:

Life is to live and life is to give and talents are to use for good if you choose. Do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be stronger. Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers. Pray for powers equal to your tasks – then the doing of your work shall be no miracle but you shall be a miracle. Every day you shall wonder at yourself… at the richness of life which has come to you by the grace of God. But everyone needs someone – knowing that somewhere someone is thinking of you.

Anthony Perlas

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