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A Window into Blessed Solanus’ Life

Sacred Heart receives a newly commissioned three-panel icon of Bl. Solanus Casey.

by MOSAIC Editorial Team

To mark the end of the Fall semester, seminarians gathered on December 14 to celebrate Mass and to bless a newly commissioned three-panel icon of Bl. Solanus Casey. The new icon presents a “window” into the life of Blessed Solanus, who continues to serve as a great example for seminarians and lay students at Sacred Heart.

Over the summer, Sacred Heart Major Seminary commissioned an icon—also known as a triptych, or a three-panel painting of Blessed Solanus—to help properly enshrine his first-class relic. The relic, which is a small bone fragment of Blessed Solanus encased in a silver reliquary, was gifted to Sacred Heart in 2018 by the Capuchin Franciscan Province of St. Joseph. 

by MOSAIC Editorial Team

The hand-delivered icon was painted—or as it’s referred to in iconography, written—by Joseph Malham, an iconographer based in Chicago, Illinois. Using the traditional techniques and materials iconographers have utilized for centuries, Malham wrote the icon on poplar panels in egg tempera and 23k gold leaf.

“The icon depicts the traditional Catholic categories of action and contemplation, which are essential to the work of formation we do here at Sacred Heart Major Seminary,” said Fr. Charles Fox, director of graduate seminarians and director of Liturgy at Sacred Heart.

The center panel portrays Bl. Solanus in a traditional poster of blessing, while the left panel shows him as a porter—one of his chief ministries with the Capuchins. As porter of the Detroit monastery door, Blessed Solanus met and welcomed thousands of people from every age and walk of life. On the right-hand side, he prays before the Holy Eucharist.

“You also may notice a couple of familiar architectural details in the icon. These were borrowed from the seminary chapel itself,” said Father Fox.

Following Mass, Father Fox expressed his gratitude for the new icon. “We’re very grateful to God for giving us first of all the life of Blessed Solanus, also for his relic and for this beautiful icon which will help us enshrine the relic in our chapel.”

MOSAIC Editorial Team

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Sacred Heart Major Seminary is a Christ-centered Catholic community of faith and higher learning committed to forming leaders who will proclaim the good news of Christ to the people of our time. As a leading center of the New Evangelization, Sacred Heart serves the needs of the Archdiocese of Detroit and contributes to the mission of the universal Church.