Religious brother strives to emulate fellow Franciscan

| November 8, 2017 | 0 Comments

Although Brother Conrad Richardson doesn’t share Father Solanus Casey’s namesake, the Franciscan Brother of Peace in St. Paul had submitted the name as an option upon professing vows in 1998.

Franciscan Brother of Peace Conrad Richardson poses next to a statue of Father Solanus Casey at the Solanus Casey Center in Detroit. Courtesy Brother Conrad Richardson

While in his early 20s living in a discernment house near Denver, Colorado, a friend’s picture of the bald-headed, bearded Capuchin Franciscan caught Brother Richardson’s attention. He soon came to revere Father Casey, who’ll be beatified Nov. 18 in Detroit. Brother Richardson will attend the event with fellow Franciscan Brother Pio King.

“This will be a real dream,” said Brother Richardson, 44. When he joined the Franciscan Brothers of Peace, he was excited about living in an area with close ties to Father Casey.

Initially attracted to Father Casey’s humility and ultimate trust in God, Brother Richardson describes him as an “unsung hero” and compares him to St. Teresa of Kolkata.

“The notoriety [Mother Teresa] garnered while on earth was great, but it’s important that the Lord uses people like her, who impacts the world on a large scale, but also, in his humility, uses people like Solanus Casey to impact the world in a profound way that might be more unnoticed,” he said.

Brother Richardson tries to emulate the potential saint by listening to people and being attentive to their needs.

“Franciscans are known for helping people in need,” he said. “So often, there’s not enough time to give people the attention they deserve, which shows the dignity of the person. Just as God is with each of us, Father Casey is a beautiful example of loving every person — Catholic, non-Catholic, atheist — as we encounter people of many walks of life in our apostolate and outreach. It’s so important to keep that principle of treating everyone with love and respect.”

At St. Michael in Stillwater, where Father Casey was confirmed, some parishioners will travel to the beatification with a group from St. Patrick in neighboring Hudson, Wisconsin. Father Michael Izen, St. Michael’s pastor, said the parish’s theatrical group plans to perform a play about Father Casey in the coming months.

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Category: Vocations