Ron Busch
Freelance Writer
November 4, 2017 // Special

Fort Wayne man finds possible relic of soon-to-be saint

Ron Busch
Freelance Writer

The Father Solanus Casey Center is inspired by the life and example of Venerable Solanus Casey. The center is located at 1780 Mount Elliott St., in Detroit, Michigan, and strives to be a place of pilgrimage, healing, reconciliation and peace. Visit for more information.

Just about everyone has found something of unusual value while walking along a beach, strolling along a well-traveled road or perhaps while digging in the backyard or in the garden. Perhaps the find was a beautiful stone or seashell, an unusual coin or piece of jewelry; maybe it was a piece of pottery or an old penny.

Fort the past seven years, Fort Wayne resident George Kessen has been spending his winters in St. Petersburg, Florida. He  has a dog named “Casey” with whom he has long enjoyed taking walks, whether at home in the Midwest or during the moderate Florida winters. While in St. Petersburg and walking down a street one night with Casey, Kessen noticed something unusual on the pavement. It appeared to be a scapula: He picked it up. A small piece of cloth was affixed to it that bore a reference to Father Solanus Casey.

Kessen, a practicing Catholic, had not heard of Father Casey, but felt that something of this value should be returned to its owner. He attempted to locate him through the Diocese of St. Petersburg; the attempt proved futile, but served to apprise him of the priest and his legacy. He researched “Solanus Casey” and found out much about the interesting life that Father Casey had lived in the Midwest, including the Detroit area and even his stay in Huntington. Since the discovery, Kessen has begun praying for the intercession of Father Casey often, and today feels a special spiritual bond with him.

Several months ago, Kessen saw a reference in Today’s Catholic about Father Casey’s Nov. 18 beatification in Detroit. He has since turned the relic over to Father Jacob Runyon and the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend to continue the process of its authentication. Although how the piece of cloth came to be in Florida is not yet certain, it could have traveled there with someone who had possessed it or the entire garment.

Interestingly enough, the story does not end there. Four weeks ago, Kessen endured the pain of accidentally breaking his foot. His doctor anticipated an eight-week recuperation period with likely surgery. Kessen was determined to call upon the intercession of Father Casey during the lengthy recovery period. Father Casey regularly prayed for those with physical ailments during his life’s journey. He was well-known for his willingness to help those in need, as well as a willingness to listen to the cares and struggles of those around him, no matter the station in life. He often prayed for healing.

Kessen recently got some good news from the doctor. Strangely, or perhaps predictably, his eight-week recovery period has been shortened to four or five weeks. Understandably, he is quick to point out the many intercessory prayers to Father Solanus Casey and his premature healing. It’s no wonder that he has a special place in his heart for Father Casey. Hearkening back to that walk with his dog Casey and discovery of the relic … Kessen has a special connection, a knowledge, and now perhaps a reason for his discovery on the walk.

He must still wear a fiberglass boot until Nov. 7, but with the swelling gone and surgery averted, Kessen has a special story about the relic he found that has literally changed his life, as well as enlightened his knowledge of Father Solanus Casey, to be beatified and pronounced “blessed” by the church this Nov. 18 in Detroit.

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