Camela Daley, 50, believes a miracle — through the “intercession” of late friar Solanus Casey, who recently took an important step toward sainthood — saved the life of her newborn son a decade ago. The boy, named for Casey and now in fourth grade, attended the friar’s “beatification” ceremony with Daley this month.
“I’m a mom of seven . . . a music director at a parish, and I am just a very busy mom, pretty ordinary life . . . my faith is very important to me, and my family.”
Solanus Casey was a Capuchin Franciscan friar, “born in Wisconsin on a farm,” one of 16 children.
After becoming a priest, Casey moved to Detroit, “started a soup kitchen there and . . . just lived among the poor,” and worked as a doorkeeper at a monastery.
“His two loves were the poor and the sick,” and he “was known for his simplicity, humility and just living in God’s will, really, he was known for listening, that’s where his greatness came from . . . he just listened and through that they felt important and just special.”
He died in 1957.
In Catholicism, there are steps to formal sainthood, and last weekend Casey was “beatified,” the last step before being “canonized” or officially declared a saint.
There was a ceremony at Detroit’s Ford Field that reportedly drew 60,000.
Catholics and some other Christian traditions don’t worship saints – who are considered “very close to God” – but they might enlist them as a sort of “conduit” to God, working as “a friend to help you to have your prayers answered.”
A couple of years before Daley’s son was born, a friend “introduced” her to Casey’s story, and she watched a video of him.
“He reminded me of my grandfather, who was a farmer in Wisconsin,” where Daley is from.
“I just loved the life that” Casey lived, “the simplicity of him, and he was so accessible . . . you could emulate . . . we could all strive for that kind of sanctity.”
Daley’s husband came to appreciate Casey, too, and even suggested while Daley was pregnant that their child, if a boy, should be named after Casey.
Daley wasn’t sold, though.
While pregnant in 2007 she didn’t feel right one day.
She got home and “hemorrhaged.”
The bleeding stopped by the time she arrived at the hospital, but when the doctor broke her water, things turned worse. Later, it was determined the placenta “had detached early.”
“The doctor just yelled to me, ‘Camela you need to push now, now.’”
“I was calling upon the Holy Spirit at the time, and I remember three pushes, the third push, huge push, he was out.”
The baby, a boy, had lost a lot of blood.
“Couple of little sounds he makes and then all of a sudden he gets real pale, and they run over to him and start rushing him away, one of the doctors starts doing CPR, manipulating the heart . . . they go into a room, shut the shades . . . chaplain walks in, and she’s shaking her head, preparing to me.”
“I started to pray to Solanus Casey, into my mind came his face and his words . . . ‘Blessed be God in all His designs.’ . . . And I had this, it was amazing, this peace came over me, that I can’t even explain, it was, all I can say is being absorbed in God’s will.”
“I was in another dimension.” She looked at her distraught husband and said, “Whatever happens, it’s OK.”
“I looked at him then again and I said, ‘And if he makes it, his name will be Solanus,’” with Casey as the middle name.
From her hospital bed, she called a friend to let her know what was going on, but ended up in voicemail. On it her friend had recorded a quote from Casey: “God’s will, nothing more, nothing less, nothing else.”
“It was just confirmation after confirmation that this man was there with me, right there,” and the baby.
The baby had a blood transfusion, was rushed to another hospital.
“They said he probably won’t make it and even if he did . . . he might be . . . not functioning very well.”
But days later, the critical-care doctors said, “We don’t see anything wrong, and we don’t really know why, I guess the hospital did a really good job.”
But the other physicians “both called it a miracle, they couldn’t believe it.”
“Of course, we knew what had happened . . . that Solanus Casey had interceded for us, this miracle that God performed through this humble friar to save our son, I’m positive this was a witness of God’s mercy in wanting Solanus Casey to be known in these times.”
Other miracles have been attributed to him, including one that helped lead to his beatification.
Daley’s son “came out of it with no repercussions, just a . . . regular, happy . . . perfect 10-year-old child.”
Since then Daley has spread the word about Casey, handing out his prayer cards and sharing her family’s story with friends.
Initially she thought she was unable to attend the Nov. 18 beatification ceremony in Detroit. She didn’t have a ride, a place to stay or tickets.
But through friends, and friends of friends, things fell into place, and she and her son, now in fourth grade, ended up making it – another miracle, according to Daley.
“Prayer works, absolutely it works.”
“There are so many miracles all around, I think it’s important that people share their stories . . . so that everybody can see that these things do happen, and have hope.”
Face to Faith appears Sundays in the Chicago Sun-Times, with an accompanying audio podcast, with additional content, available at chicago.suntimes.com and on iTunes and Google Play.
Listen to previous “Face to Faith” podcasts:
- Dr. Martha Twaddle cares for the dying, but, ‘I do see miracles,’ Nov. 19, 2017
- Grammy-winning Chicago gospel singer Smokie Norful ‘providing hope through song,’ Nov. 12, 2017
- Chicago immigrant Atoor Merkail: Assyrians suffered ‘so much,’ but we still have hope,’ Nov. 5, 2017
- Decade after dust-up, nun Donna Quinn firm on abortion: ‘Choice is the woman’s,’ Oct. 29, 2017
- Chicago Satanist G. Edwin Taylor: There’s no devil, humans ‘are our own God,’ Oct. 22, 2017
- WXRT DJ Lin Brehmer: Finds inspiration ‘in the beauties of the world,’ Oct. 15, 2017
- Prominent Presbyterian pastor Shannon Johnson Kershner: ‘God’s not a Christian . . . we are,’ Oct. 8, 2017
- Former pro star Andrea Jaeger’s faith ‘way better than my tennis,’ Oct. 1, 2017
- Miranda Rae Mayo of ‘Chicago Fire‘: ‘My thoughts create my reality,’ Sept. 24, 2017
- Bears outside linebacker Sam Acho: ‘I want to be a light to my teammates,’ Sept. 17, 2017
- Top Lutheran bishop Elizabeth Eaton: If hell exists, ‘I think it’s empty,’ Sept. 10, 2017
- Author Scott Turow: Feels ‘a deep faith’ in ‘the power of good,’ Sept. 3, 2017
- Cardinal Blase Cupich: Some of ‘greatest Christians I know’ have no ‘faith system,’ Aug. 27, 2017
- Gov hopeful Daniel Biss: Faith that fuels divisiveness is ‘dead wrong,’ Aug. 20, 2017
- Lutheran scholar Martin Marty on faith, Luther, the state of religion: Aug. 13, 2017
- Chicago Sky’s Amber Stocks: Message matters more than the denomination, Aug. 6, 2017
- ‘Hood’ and ‘holy’ minister Marilyn Pagan-Banks: Not alone ‘even when you make bad choices,’ July 30, 2017
- Author Patrick T. Reardon: ‘Embrace the pain of life as well as joys,’ July 23, 2017
- Paylocity founder Steve Sarowitz: Baha’i ‘made sense to me right away,’ July 16, 2017
- Candidate Chris Kennedy: ‘I’ve seen the Holy Spirit at work,’ July 9, 2017
- Jail warden Nneka Jones Tapia: ‘I think God is all around us,’ July 2, 2017
- Sox outfielder Melky Cabrera: ‘Let it be God’s will if we lose or win,’ June 25, 2017
- The Mekons’ Sally Timms: ‘Not the kind of atheist who’s down on religion,’ June 18, 2017
- J.B. Pritzker: At times, ‘your faith has to overcome maybe logic,’ June 11, 2017
- Daoud Casewit, American Islamic College president: ‘We’re as American as we are Islamic,’ June 4, 2017
- Public Defender Amy Campanelli: My clients ‘are not evil people,’ May 28, 2017
- James Lovell: ‘We go to heaven when we’re born,’ May 21, 2017
- Michael Magnafichi, one-time ‘rising star’ in Chicago mob: ‘I do say prayers,’ May 14, 2017
- Ald. Ameya Pawar: ‘There’s always the opportunity for redemption,’ May 7, 2017
- Sir the Baptist: ‘I want to be the first hip-hop chaplain,’ April 30, 2017
- Singer Shemekia Copeland: ‘Hell, yeah’ God loves the blues, April 23, 2017