Nicole Hahn
Director of Secretariat for Communications
September 1, 2023 // Diocese

Special Painting Unveiled at Annual Blessed Solanus Casey Feast Day Celebration 

Nicole Hahn
Director of Secretariat for Communications

The Huntington Extension of the Father Solanus Guild celebrated the sixth annual Blessed Solanus Casey Feast Day on Sunday, July 30, at the St. Felix Center in Huntington. The celebration marked the 140th anniversary of Blessed Solanus receiving his first holy Communion in
Wisconsin and the fifth anniversary of the St. Felix Oratory in Huntington, which was his home from 1946 to 1956, and the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Fort Wayne receiving relics of Blessed Solanus for viewing and veneration from the former Vice-Postulator for the Cause of Sainthood and Director of the Father Solanus Guild, Brother Richard Merling, OFM Cap.

Provided by St. Felix Catholic Center
Artist Mary Hilger stands with Father Tony Steinaker, Pastor at SS. Peter and Paul Church in Huntington, after unveiling her painting of Blessed Solanus Casey at the Sixth Annual Blessed Father Solanus Casey Feast Day Celebration at the St. Felix Center in Huntington on Saturday, July 30.

According to the website, “The Father Solanus Guild was established in 1960 with a mission of sharing the holiness and spirituality of Blessed Solanus and to promote his cause for canonization. Soon after his death in 1957, reports of favors received through his intercession began to arrive. The holiness of Blessed Solanus led Pope John Paul II to declare him venerable in 1995. On May 4, 2017, Pope Francis announced that Venerable Solanus would be beatified. On November 18, 2017, at Ford Field in Detroit, a crowd numbering 70,000 participated in the celebration of the Mass of beatification for Blessed Solanus Casey. A miraculous cure had been approved! Another approved miracle after that will advance the cause finally to sainthood, and the man born Bernard Francis Casey will be known thereafter as St. Solanus Casey.”

The July 30 feast day was given to Blessed Solanus at his beatification. There are nearly 200 Franciscan Capuchin Communities around the world that spread knowledge and live the spirituality of Jesus, St. Francis, and Blessed Father Solanus.

Mary Hilger, a gifted and award-winning artist and art teacher, was commissioned by the Huntington Extension of the Father Solanus Guild to paint her first rendering of Blessed Solanus Casey based on the image that appears on the Father Solanus relic badges that are hand-stitched and distributed all over the world by Father Solanus Guild members. After visiting St. Felix and reading about Blessed Solanus to connect with his heart, Hilger painted the beautiful image and gave a talk that honored and amplified his virtuous life and compared Father Solanus to her late husband, Deacon John Hilger.

Hilger unveiled the painting, which was then blessed by Father Tony Steinacker, Pastor at SS. Peter and Paul in Huntington. It will be placed at the Father Solanus Guild Bookstore and Gift Shop in Solanus Hall.

Afterward, people participated in the Divine Mercy Chaplet, Unity Prayer, Prayer for the Canonization of Blessed Solanus, and the Patriotic Rosary, praying for all 50 states and every person (soul) in each state. Father Steinacker gave a general blessing with the relic of Blessed Solanus.

The day ended with social time, including a designated area with activities for children, a walk through the Solanus Guild gift shop, a free gift from the Father Solanus Guild, and a variety of frozen treats in honor of Father Solanus’ enjoyment of ice cream.

Jan Scher contributed to this story.

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