Detroit's Father Solanus Casey Center to expand after $20M Art Van donation

Posted at 6:04 PM, Dec 18, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-18 18:04:32-05

The Solanus Casey Center is expanding, thanks to a $20 million donation from furniture store founder Art Van Elslander.

"We've never had anything of this scope before and so we're still taken by surprise," said Father David Preuss.

The $20 million donation gives Father David a priceless reaction. He is the director of the Solanus Casey Center.

Furniture store giant Art Van Elslander told them, "Now that Father Solanus is named blessed, I'm sure that the number of people coming here to the center is going to increase substantially."

And it has according to Father David. He says Elslander supports the center because his dad had a great relationship with Father Solanus.

"He knows how important it was for his life and he wants to hand that on to the next generations."

They have plans to buy the manufacturing facility next door, along with more than 60 nearby properties.

They say they're closely working with residents.

"How do we keep from displacing neighbors but really including neighbors in how we develop this city."

Father David say Father Casey is still working for the center from the spiritual world.

"There is Solanus with the Lord, with Mother Mary, they're in heaven and he has opportunity to continue to be with us, even as he served here on Mt. Elliot through the years, he continues to serve us through the center."

The expansion will include a larger gift shop, a coffee shop and parking.

And while they are grateful to Elslander's generous donation, they say any gift with great intention is appreciated 

"May he be blessed for such a large and generous gift. But also, we have people that have vey small gifts that are equally generous and God sees the heart."