He was born on July25th of 1833 in Santiago. Is parents were Juan Ramon Casanova Opazo and Isabel Casanova Salinas. He studied at the Instituto Nacional and entered the Seminario Conciliar in 1849, where he was a standout student. He was ordained a priest in 1856, but he had been teaching at the Seminary for four years: Philosophy, Theology, Morals and Canon Law.
In July of 1860 he founded the Saint Agustin Literary Academy, birthplace of great writers, spokesman and parliament members, such as Crescente Errazuriz and Jose Manuel Balmaceda.
In 1872, he motivated the creation of the Dioceses of Valparaiso, and was named its first bishop that very year.
The reasons behind this new ecclesiastic government was the sustained growth of this port and the increasing presence of Protestantism and masonry.
In Valparaiso, he promoted the founding of a home for abandoned children, which was later handed over to the nuns of the Buen Pastor (Good Shepard) and was also the driving force behind establishing the Catholic Society of Primary Instruction, a school just for girls that was ran by the nuns of the Sacred Heart.
In 1886, the president at the time, Jose Manuel Balmaceda, proposes Casanova for the archbishopric.
Pope Leon XIII approved his designation and he was consecrated at the Metropolitan cathedral on January 30th of the following year.
In addition, he founded the Universidad Catolica de Chile (1888), 32 parishes and the Immaculate Conception sanctuary atop San Cristobal hill.
Dring his term as archbishop, he restored the cathedral, adding the chapel.
In 1890, he was a mediator between Balmaceda’s opposition, receiving public recognition as a conciliator. However, his efforts lasted only a few months because the outbreak of civil war was inevitable.
After suffering a nervous breakdown, Casanova could never bounce back and he passed away on May 16th, 1908.