My aunt, the late Sister Marilyn, O.P., a Dominican nun considered by many who knew her to be a saintly woman, very rarely offered me anything in the way of religious advice. She did, though, encourage me to pray to both Padre Pio and Father Solanus, two of her contemporaries whom she greatly admired. Can saints more easily identify others who are saints than we can? It would seem so, and many religious traditions, including Buddhism, assert this.
In any event, I've always had a strong curiosity about the two men.
Years ago, by chance, I happened upon a one-hour television show about Padre Pio,
and found it quite interesting. I would have liked to have seen a
documentary about Father Solanus, but one was not available. You can
understand, then, how pleased I was to receive a message from two filmmakers,
Kevin Lindenmuth and Audrey Geyer, asking me if I'd be interested in viewing
their new film, The Healing Prophet: Solanus Casey.
This film is highly enjoyable; I believe it would be of equal interest to those who know nothing about Father Solanus Casey, the American priest who appears to be on his way to sainthood, and to those who want to add to their knowledge of this remarkable individual.
Actually, the documentary has two subjects: Solanus Casey himself, and the Solanus Casey Center in Detroit, Michigan. This duality of purpose threw me a bit at first, but by the end of the film I saw the wisdom in approaching the two subjects side by side. The Solanus Casey Center is designed to inform visitors about Father Solanus, but it also attempts to do more, and to bring about spiritual growth. In other words, the Center does more than merely preserve the memory of Father Solanus; it preserves and builds upon his living legacy.
The film also accomplishes this. There is, of course, some information regarding Father Solanus' personal history, but there are also insightful discussions on related spiritual topics, most of these offered by Father Solanus' fellow Franciscan priests and brothers.
In short, I not only enjoyed this film, I felt uplifted by it. In its quiet way, there is a great deal of food for spiritual thought offered in The Healing Prophet: Solanus Casey. If you have the chance to see it, I'm sure you'll agree.
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