We left early. 8:30 somehow felt much earlier than it ought to have but that is EST v PST. Miriam was unhappy to wake. After loading bags and snacks aplenty into a five-seat sedan, I squeeze into the back seat beside the car seat, rotated my hips to accommodate Miriam’s booster seat, helped buckled her in and we went on our way. After an hour I recalled that I packed only one bag of supplies, I may have forgotten the nighttime supplies necessary for connecting him to his TPN. We pulled over to a gas station and searched his ice chest. I packed the night time supplies but left off the day supplies, also a necessity.
Should we drive back or find an alternative in Detroit? I hated the idea of the extra hour of driving in what would already be an immense day on the road. I paged FLIGHT, our care coordination team and when our doctor called back, immediately I said, “It’s not an emergency.” He understood the situation and we brainstormed our options. The best choice was the Emergency Department in Detroit. With GPS rerouted we continued our journey. The next hour we pulled over to unhook his TPN. Fortunately, the ubiquitous coffee shop of our country was there and I have a gift card. Reset with espresso, trips to the bathroom, and an unhooked toddler, we hit the road again.
Our first stop was the emergency department at the Children’s Hospital, where we went through the old routine with a healthy baby. We administered what we needed and were on our way. What would seem wild and stressful felt routine for us. There is nothing unusual about a stop at the ED.
Driving through Detroit, the old buildings amazed me. I saw large houses, large buildings all made of brick. The rain poured. I asked the gentlemen in the front seat to deliver me to where the handicap drop off stood while they attempted to maneuver traffic towards the reserved parking garage. I took the shortcut through security, thanks to our little guy, forgot his friar outfit and realized I had no way to access the digital tickets. “They really only work when the group is all together.”
After thirty minutes, the men responded to which gate they would enter. Ticket Specialist, Kendell walked me across the stadium to said gate where we waited for those masculine figures to pass through the security gates. They came through after a time. After standing an hour, I was ready for action and with printed tickets in hand, led the way about three-quarters the stadium in the direction the volunteer pointed us. I did not pause until we found our seats and could settle in, with five minutes before mass began.
The stadium and crowds were incredible. As the organ swelled, a long line of priests and bishops processed in.
The beatification took place first with a letter from the Holy Father, an acceptance of said letter and unveiling of the picture of Solanus Casey.
Our hearts swelled as well while they played the hymn of my life soundtrack, “O God Beyond All Praising.” This was the hymn I heard the Sunday I found out I was pregnant. This was the hymn they played the Sunday after I miscarried. This was the hymn we chose for our daughter’s funeral.
“Then hear, O gracious Saviour,
accept the love we bring,
that we who know your favour
may serve you as our king;
and whether our tomorrows
be filled with good or ill,
we’II triumph through our sorrows
and rise to bless you still:
to marvel at your beauty
and glory in your ways,
and make a joyful duty
our sacrifice of praise.
And in our hearts, we believed that what God had promised he would also do. God would grant us a miracle for Peter.
I felt the same movement in my heart at the reception of Holy Communion.
There were moments of awe, humor and devotion throughout the mass.
As we left and found we could not go to the altar to venerate the picture, we made our way to the exit, happily pausing to speak with CFR friars and ask for prayers. Fr. Benedict Groeschel began the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal (the CFR’s) and Fr. Benedict Groeschel first taught me about Solanus Casey. We planned the name Peter Solanus for our first son (after using John for our miscarried baby). Yet at the sonogram and discovery of our first son’s sex, it did not seem right. We chose James Thomas instead. Then came the pregnancy with Peter and somehow, discovering his cleft in the same ultrasound appointment, we felt this to be right. Our son would be Peter Solanus Casey.
Blessed Solanus Casey played the violin (poorly). He had severe eczema. His birthday is the same as my brother-in-law, who tragically died last year. Solanus was a simple, hardworking, humble man on who the light of God shined. It has felt more like Fr. Solanus has looked after Peter more than we have looked after Fr. Solanus.
This trip has been a pilgrimage. It has been emotional and trying at times, but filled with the generosity of others. We return home soon, to be united again. The separation from our other children was the greatest pain for me. Having missed a few days of our novena, we’ll pray the prayer for a few extra days and are grateful for those prayed with us and for us.
Whatever God has for us and for Peter, be it a miracle of physical healing or a miracle of a life well lived despite suffering, we open our hearts to accept it joyfully.
“Blessed be God in all his designs!”