Pilgrim Queen September, 2017 Pilgrimage
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The​ ​Dump

“Do​ ​you​ ​want​ ​to​ ​see​ ​my​ ​river?”
The​ ​little​ ​girl​ ​was​ ​so​ ​excited,​ ​she​ ​was​ ​dancing​ ​in​ ​place.​ ​​ ​“Can​ ​I​ ​show​ ​you​ ​my​ ​river?”

Father​ ​was​ ​on​ ​a​ ​mission​ ​trip​ ​to​ ​Nicaragua,​ ​and​ ​he​ ​was​ ​standing​ ​in​ ​“the​ ​dump.”​ ​​ ​Literally​ ​a garbage​ ​dump,​ ​it​ ​was​ ​home​ ​to​ ​this​ ​girl​ ​and​ ​her​ ​family.​ ​​ ​She​ ​was​ ​so​ ​happy​ ​to​ ​have​ ​him​ ​visit​ ​her home,​ ​and​ ​so​ ​excited​ ​to​ ​show​ ​off​ ​her​ ​river.​ ​​ ​“Sure,​ ​let’s​ ​go.”

She​ ​skipped​ ​her​ ​way​ ​toward​ ​her​ ​river,​ ​proud​ ​to​ ​show​ ​it​ ​off​ ​to​ ​a​ ​visitor.​ ​​ ​Stepping​ ​through,​ ​over and​ ​around​ ​trash,​ ​Father​ ​followed.​ ​​ ​Soon​ ​they​ ​arrived​ ​at​ ​her​ ​river:​ ​​ ​“Look!​ ​Here​ ​it​ ​is!”​ ​​ ​Smiling​ ​in delight,​ ​she​ ​had​ ​no​ ​idea​ ​of​ ​Father’s​ ​horror​ ​as​ ​he​ ​gazed​ ​on​ ​the​ ​polluted,​ ​foaming​ ​and​ ​reeking water. 

Attitude of Gratitude

In​ ​the​ ​lyrics​ ​of​ ​Sheryl​ ​Crow​ ​(Soak​ ​up​ ​the​ ​Sun):​ ​​ ​“It’s​ ​not​ ​having​ ​what​ ​you​ ​want,​ ​it’s​ ​wanting​ ​what you’ve​ ​got.”​ ​​ ​That’s​ ​the​ ​essence​ ​of​ ​happiness:​ ​​ ​wanting​ ​what​ ​you’ve​ ​got.​ ​​ ​Instead​ ​of​ ​wanting what​ ​someone​ ​else​ ​has.​ ​​ ​Or​ ​what​ ​you​ ​definitely​ ​do​ ​NOT​ ​have​ ​now​ ​and​ ​probably​ ​never​ ​will.

It’s​ ​the​ ​attitude​ ​of​ ​gratitude. 

Thanking God Ahead of Time

Barney​ ​Casey,​ ​now​ ​known​ ​as​ ​Venerable​ ​Solanus​ ​Casey,​ ​often​ ​gave​ ​this​ ​advice​ ​to​ ​those​ ​who sought​ ​him​ ​out​ ​as​ ​a​ ​prophet​ ​and​ ​healer.​ ​​ ​He​ ​believed​ ​that​ ​answered​ ​requests​ ​were​ ​due​ ​to confidence​ ​in​ ​God,​ ​praying​ ​with​ ​faith​ ​and​ ​making​ ​a​ ​promise.​ ​​ ​So​ ​he​ ​advised​ ​thanking​ ​God​ ​in advance​ ​for​ ​whatever​ ​He​ ​sends,​ ​and​ ​bolstering​ ​prayer​ ​with​ ​a​ ​sacrifice.​ ​​ ​His​ ​favorite​ ​form​ ​of​ ​alms was​ ​enrollment​ ​in​ ​the​ ​Seraphic​ ​Mass​ ​Association,​ ​which​ ​exists​ ​to​ ​help​ ​the​ ​holy​ ​souls​ ​in purgatory.​ ​​ ​​

Barney​ ​Casey​ ​was​ ​born​ ​on​ ​November​ ​25,​ ​1870​ ​in​ ​Wisconsin​ ​to​ ​Irish​ ​immigrant​ ​parents.​ ​​ ​He was​ ​the​ ​sixth​ ​of​ ​​sixteen​​ ​children:​ ​​ ​ten​ ​boys​ ​and​ ​six​ ​girls.​ ​​ ​​ ​The​ ​children​ ​shared​ ​a​ ​love​ ​of​ ​sports, hunting​ ​and​ ​fishing.​ ​​ ​There​ ​were​ ​enough​ ​brothers​ ​that​ ​they​ ​formed​ ​their​ ​own​ ​baseball​ ​team:​ ​​ ​the Casey​ ​Nine.​ ​​ ​The​ ​family​ ​not​ ​only​ ​played​ ​together,​ ​they​ ​prayed​ ​together.​ ​​ ​His​ ​habit​ ​of​ ​praying​ ​a daily​ ​rosary​ ​began​ ​in​ ​his​ ​parent’s​ ​home.

In​ ​1883​ ​Barney​ ​had​ ​his​ ​first​ ​thought​ ​of​ ​becoming​ ​a​ ​priest.​ ​​ ​It​ ​was​ ​before​ ​his​ ​thirteenth​ ​birthday, while​ ​receiving​ ​instruction​ ​for​ ​first​ ​Holy​ ​Communion.​ ​​ ​The​ ​idea​ ​continued​ ​to​ ​surface​ ​until​ ​at twenty-one​ ​he​ ​entered​ ​St.​ ​Francis​ ​High​ ​School​ ​Seminary​ ​in​ ​Milwaukee​ ​and​ ​studied​ ​for​ ​the diocesan​ ​priesthood.​ ​​ ​He​ ​had​ ​difficulty​ ​with​ ​the​ ​German​ ​instruction,​ ​however,​ ​and​ ​his​ ​superiors advised​ ​that​ ​he​ ​move​ ​to​ ​a​ ​religious​ ​order.​ ​​ ​Three​ ​different​ ​religious​ ​orders,​ ​the​ ​Franciscans, Jesuits​ ​and​ ​Capuchins,​ ​welcomed​ ​him.​ ​​ ​In​ ​an​ ​effort​ ​to​ ​discern​ ​his​ ​call,​ ​he​ ​invited​ ​his​ ​mother​ ​and sister​ ​to​ ​pray​ ​a​ ​novena​ ​before​ ​the​ ​Feast​ ​of​ ​the​ ​Immaculate​ ​Conception.​ ​​ ​After​ ​Holy​ ​Communion on​ ​the​ ​novena’s​ ​last​ ​day,​ ​Barney​ ​heard​ ​the​ ​Blessed​ ​Mother​ ​tell​ ​him,​ ​“Go​ ​to​ ​Detroit.”​ ​​ ​He​ ​entered the​ ​Capuchin​ ​Order​ ​in​ ​Detroit​ ​in​ ​1897,​ ​taking​ ​the​ ​name​ ​Solanus​ ​after​ ​Saint​ ​Francis​ ​Solanus.

After​ ​his​ ​ordination​ ​in​ ​1904,​ ​Father​ ​Solanus​ ​spent​ ​20​ ​years​ ​in​ ​New​ ​York,​ ​Harlem​ ​and​ ​Yonkers. He​ ​first​ ​served​ ​as​ ​sacristan,​ ​then​ ​director​ ​of​ ​altar​ ​servers,​ ​then​ ​porter​ ​at​ ​the​ ​monastery​ ​door. These​ ​lowly​ ​jobs​ ​were​ ​dictated​ ​by​ ​his​ ​ordination​ ​as​ ​a​ ​“simplex​ ​priest.”​ ​Because​ ​of​ ​his​ ​academic struggles​ ​in​ ​seminary,​ ​his​ ​superiors​ ​felt​ ​he​ ​shouldn’t​ ​receive​ ​the​ ​faculties​ ​to​ ​all​ ​priestly​ ​offices. So​ ​he​ ​could​ ​offer​ ​mass​ ​but​ ​neither​ ​preach​ ​publicly​ ​nor​ ​hear​ ​confessions.​ ​​ ​At​ ​his​ ​post​ ​at​ ​the monastery​ ​door,​ ​he​ ​took​ ​his​ ​job​ ​very​ ​seriously.​ ​​ ​He​ ​greeted​ ​those​ ​who​ ​entered,​ ​listening​ ​to everything​ ​they​ ​had​ ​to​ ​say​ ​and​ ​giving​ ​advice​ ​when​ ​prodded.​ ​​ ​Soon​ ​he​ ​became​ ​a​ ​much​ ​sought after​ ​counselor.​ ​​ ​During​ ​his​ ​lifetime​ ​visitors​ ​attributed​ ​miracles​ ​to​ ​his​ ​intercession.

For​ ​all​ ​who​ ​knew​ ​Father​ ​Solanus,​ ​the​ ​virtue​ ​that​ ​most​ ​distinguished​ ​him​ ​was​ ​humility.​ ​​ ​He always​ ​accepted​ ​his​ ​superiors’​ ​orders,​ ​including​ ​the​ ​humiliating​ ​decision​ ​to​ ​make​ ​him​ ​a​ ​simplex priest.​ ​​ ​Think​ ​of​ ​it:​ ​​ ​when​ ​someone​ ​asked​ ​him​ ​for​ ​the​ ​sacrament​ ​of​ ​reconciliation,​ ​he​ ​had​ ​to​ ​run to​ ​get​ ​another​ ​priest.​ ​​ ​Two​ ​of​ ​his​ ​brothers​ ​were​ ​ordained​ ​with​ ​full​ ​faculties,​ ​as​ ​were​ ​his classmates.​ ​​ ​If​ ​anyone​ ​indicated​ ​to​ ​Father​ ​Solanus​ ​that​ ​to​ ​be​ ​a​ ​simplex​ ​priest​ ​was​ ​humiliating, he​ ​replied:​ ​​ ​“In​ ​order​ ​to​ ​practice​ ​humility​ ​we​ ​must​ ​experience​ ​humiliations.”​ ​​ ​He​ ​was​ ​convinced​ ​it was​ ​God’s​ ​plan​ ​that​ ​he​ ​remain​ ​a​ ​simplex​ ​priest,​ ​and​ ​he​ ​happily​ ​lived​ ​out​ ​his​ ​vocation.

Everyday Examples

Thanking​ ​God​ ​Ahead​ ​of​ ​Time

Joyful​ ​Even​ ​While​ ​Suffering

Thanksgiving​ ​after​ ​Hurricane​ ​Irma

The​ ​Littlest​ ​Blessings 

Kid's Corner: 

Can​ ​you​ ​imagine​ ​having​ ​​fifteen​​ ​brothers​ ​and​ ​sisters?​ ​​ ​And​ ​being​ ​happy​ ​about​ ​it?​ ​​ ​Having​ ​that many​ ​siblings​ ​is​ ​certainly​ ​one​ ​way​ ​to​ ​learn​ ​to​ ​how​ ​to​ ​share.​ ​​ ​Father​ ​Solanus​ ​learned​ ​from​ ​his family​ ​how​ ​to​ ​work​ ​hard,​ ​help​ ​others​ ​and​ ​listen.​ ​​ ​You​ ​don’t​ ​need​ ​siblings​ ​to​ ​learn​ ​selflessness, but​ ​they​ ​do​ ​help.​ ​​ ​Even​ ​if​ ​you’re​ ​an​ ​only​ ​child,​ ​you​ ​can​ ​grow​ ​in​ ​virtue.​ ​​ ​Let​ ​someone​ ​else​ ​go​ ​first, help​ ​a​ ​classmate​ ​with​ ​his​ ​homework,​ ​or​ ​really​ ​listen​ ​to​ ​your​ ​friends.​ ​​ ​These​ ​are​ ​all​ ​ways​ ​to​ ​make yourself​ ​into​ ​a​ ​better​ ​person. 

Marian Moments

During​ ​Father​ ​Solanus’​ ​lifetime​ ​he​ ​was​ ​considered​ ​a​ ​living​ ​saint​ ​and​ ​miracle​ ​worker.​ ​​ ​The​ ​secret to​ ​his​ ​success​ ​was​ ​his​ ​fidelity​ ​to​ ​prayer,​ ​especially​ ​adoration.​ ​​ ​He​ ​spent​ ​hours​ ​in​ ​prayer​ ​to​ ​Our Lady,​ ​especially​ ​the​ ​rosary.​ ​​ ​​ ​He​ ​was​ ​also​ ​devoted​ ​to​ ​the​ ​book​ T​​he​ ​Mystical​ ​City​ ​of​ ​God,​ ​​even praying​ ​it​ ​on​ ​his​ ​knees​ ​before​ ​the​ ​Blessed​ ​Sacrament.

One​ ​person​ ​who​ ​profited​ ​from​ ​Father​ ​Solanus’​ ​prayer​ ​was​ ​Gladys​ ​Feighan.​ ​​ ​She​ ​went​ ​to​ ​visit Father​ ​as​ ​he​ ​was​ ​sick​ ​in​ ​the​ ​hospital.​ ​​ ​In​ ​response​ ​to​ ​his​ ​question​ ​“What​ ​Gladys,​ ​do​ ​you​ ​want from​ ​God?”​ ​she​ ​replied,​ ​“A​ ​baby.​ ​​ ​I​ ​want​ ​another​ ​baby.”​ ​​ ​Father​ ​Solanus​ ​spoke​ ​to​ ​her​ ​of​ ​God’s infinite​ ​love,​ ​and​ ​encouraged​ ​her​ ​to​ ​place​ ​all​ ​of​ ​her​ ​confidence​ ​in​ ​it.​ ​​ ​In​ ​her​ ​own​ ​words,​ ​recorded in​ ​​The​ ​Porter​ ​of​ ​Saint​ ​Bonaventure’s​:​ ​​ ​​“Then​ ​he​ ​said​ ​to​ ​me,​ ​‘You​ ​will​ ​have​ ​another​ ​child, Gladys.​ ​Your​ ​Blessed​ ​Mother​ ​will​ ​give​ ​you​ ​another​ ​child.​ ​.​ ​.​ ​.​ ​You​ ​must​ ​believe​ ​this​ ​so​ ​strongly that​ ​before​ ​your​ ​baby​ ​is​ ​born​ ​you​ ​will​ ​get​ ​down​ ​on​ ​your​ ​knees​ ​and​ ​thank​ ​the​ ​Blessed​ ​Mother. Because​ ​once​ ​you​ ​ask​ ​her,​ ​and​ ​thank​ ​her,​ ​there’s​ ​nothing​ ​she​ ​can​ ​do​ ​but​ ​go​ ​to​ ​her​ ​own​ ​Son​ ​and ask​ ​Him​ ​to​ ​grant​ ​your​ ​prayer​ ​that​ ​you​ ​have​ ​a​ ​baby’​ ​Tears​ ​were​ ​in​ ​his​ ​eyes.” 

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