Fr. Mel’s Encounter With Solanus Casey

Friar Voices

By Fr. Mark Soehner, OFM

So many people in the middle part of the last century had their lives touched by a simple friar. Fr. Solanus Casey, OFM Cap, was a walking icon of Jesus: humble, direct, healing people, distributing food. One of the great blessings of my life was to live with Fr. Mel Brady, OFM, at St. Aloysius in Detroit. He loved to tell stories of his life, which included the following:

When Mel was a grade school student in Detroit, Sister came into his classroom one day and announced that she needed four boys to serve at the Mass of Fr. Solanus Casey. Mel was one of the four boys she chose and then excused from class. He said they were all pretty happy to be chosen.

After the Mass, in the sacristy, the four boys lined up to wait for Fr. Solanus to enter and say the “Deo Gratias!” After this greeting, Fr. Solanus looked intently at the boys and simply said, “You four boys will all be priests someday.” Then he left.

Mel recalled, “And all four of us did become priests!”