This book is about three religious men: Saint Pio, better known as Padre Pio, who was canonized a few years ago by Pope John Paul II; Solanus Casey; and Blessed Andre Bessette. Saint Pio is most likely the best-known of the three. The title of the book talks about doorkeepers. Two of the three were doorkeepers - Solanus Casey and Blessed Andre - but Saint Pio was not. He is included because he helped people with spiritual direction, as a sort of spiritual doorkeeper, according to the author.
Saint Pio was a Capuchin friar in Italy who died in 1968. He received the stigmata (the wounds of Christ) like St. Francis of Assisi and was a great spiritual director. St. Pio was supposedly capable of bilocation. Canonized by Pope John Paul II, his feast day is September 22. Fr. Solanus Casey was also a Capuchin friar, but he lived in the United States. Casey was ordained as a simplex priest - he could only say Mass, not hear confessions or give homilies. He spent a great deal of time working as the doorkeeper at the monasteries he was assigned to, and his ministry at the doors of these monasteries grew huge as he became known for his holiness and help. He lived in Detroit, then in New York, later in Indiana, and back to Detroit where he died and is buried. The people still came looking for his advice and help wherever he was. When he died in 1957, the Capuchins were somewhat surprised by the number of people attending his funeral. His cause for canonization is advancing; his grave was opened, he was found to be incorrupt, and his body was moved inside the church at St. Bonaventure’s Monastery in Detroit.
Blessed Andre Bessette was a Brother of the Congregation of the Holy Cross in Canada. He was not well-educated and spoke only French. He served his community as a doorkeeper and was in demand for his advice and aid. He had a strong devotion to St. Joseph, the foster father of Jesus, and he encouraged people to fund a project to build an oratory or shrine to St. Joseph. Author Joel Schorn says that Blessed Andre met Solanus Casey once, which seems like an interesting event, but they could not talk to each other very well since Blessed Andre’s English was not very good, nor was Casey’s French. Schorn says that Blessed Andre knelt for Fr. Solanus’ blessing, but Fr. Solanus knelt for Blessed Andre’s blessing. Blessed Andre was able to build a small oratory, but work continues to raise funds to build a larger shrine. Blessed Andre died in 1937 and was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1982, the step before being canonized a saint.
Joel Schorn intertwines the stories of these three religious. The book is very interesting and a delight to read. It is a leisurely spiritual biographical book recommended to those interested in the lives of St. Pio, Blessed Andre, and Venerable Solanus Casey.