Solanus Casey Center marks 20th anniversary,  Archbishop dedicates expansion

The Solanus Casey Center celebrated the 20th anniversary of its 2002 dedication. The Center serves as a pilgrimage site and spiritual oasis on the near east side in Detroit’s Islandview neighborhood. In addition to marking its anniversary, the Most. Rev. Allen H. Vigneron, Archbishop of Detroit, dedicated the new Gift Shop, the On the Rise Café, new confessionals, new office space, new reception desk and gardens. These new additions are part of an ongoing multi-million dollar expansion and renovation funded by the A.A. Van Elslander Foundation and other benefactors. These enhancements will serve the more than 100,000 pilgrims from around the world who visit the Solanus Casey Center each year.

“For 20 years, the Solanus Casey Center has sought to bring people into a deeper understanding of Blessed Solanus Casey’s example of humble service that we are all called to emulate,” said Br. Steve Kropp, OFM Cap., director of the Solanus Casey Center. “Today we are recommitting to that mission and inviting people, wherever they may be on their journey, to visit us to find renewal and hope.”

The new Solanus Casey Center Gift Shop and On the Rise Café opened inside a new 5,000 square-foot building addition in June 2022. On the Rise Café is a program of the Capuchin Soup Kitchen. It serves as a retail outlet for the R.O.P.E. program, employing and providing job and life skills training for people returning from incarceration or substance use disorder recovery programs.

Work continues on a new entrance to the Solanus Casey Center as well as outdoor Stations of the Cross, a new votive chapel, outdoor seating for the café and other elements. These are expected to be completed in 2023. These additional elements accompany already completed renovations and expansions, including a renovation of historic St. Bonaventure Chapel, a new reception desk, new confessionals, new meeting rooms, new parking and more.

About the Solanus Casey Center

The Solanus Casey Center was dedicated on Saturday, December 7, 2002 by then-Archbishop of Detroit Cardinal Adam Maida. The Center hopes to inspire visitors to follow Blessed Solanus Casey’s example of humble service to people experiencing suffering due to sickness and poverty. As the porter, or doorkeeper, at St. Bonaventure Monastery, Blessed Solanus would counsel and pray with people experiencing difficulties and hardships, offering material and spiritual assistance to those in need. His simple spirituality, based on the example of St. Francis of Assisi, helped inspire the formation of the Capuchin Soup Kitchen at the onset of the Great Depression in November 1929. Today the Capuchin Soup Kitchen serves hundreds of meals daily at two locations, and in addition operates numerous other programs to support those experiencing challenging circumstances.

The original lead architect for the Solanus Casey Center was John Justus of Hammel, Green and Abrahamson. Liturgical Consultant was Richard Vosko. Museum and Artistic Design Consultant Michael Callan of DMCD. Landscape Architects was Paul Andriese of Grissim-Metz-Andriese Associates. Project Director was Br. Larry Abler, OFM Cap.

For the 2022 renovations and expansion, project architects are Hamilton-Anderson Associates and Hathorne and Associates. The General Contractor is A.M. Higley. The Project Director is Fr. David Preuss, OFM Cap.

About the Capuchins

The Capuchin Franciscan Province of St. Joseph is a region of the worldwide order of Capuchin Franciscan friars covering the Midwestern United States with headquarters in Detroit. There are currently  friars serving in ministries such as soup kitchens, parishes, schools and retreat centers, in Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois and Montana. The Capuchins are funded primarily by donations, receiving no government assistance.