Book Reviews2Meet Fulton Sheen: Beloved Preacher and Teacher of the Word

Book written by: Janel Rodriguez

In his day, Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen was the best-known Catholic in the United States next to the Pope. He was well-known for his appearances in the 1950s on the radio show The Catholic Hour and the television show Life is Worth Living – for which he won an Emmy.  In her short book, Janel Rodriguez, presents the story of Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen’s life.  It is a very readable and enjoyable book that reveals the kind of person Sheen was.  He was a down to earth person who believed strongly in God and wanted to spread the Faith where ever he could.  He did not force people to convert, but persuaded them by his example and by his knowledge of the Faith.

Sheen was born in 1895 in El Paso, Illinois.  Bishop Spaulding of Peoria, Illinois had somewhat prophesied that Sheen would one day be a priest and eventually a bishop and that he would study at Louvain University in Belgium.  This all came true for Sheen.

Spaulding recognized something in Sheen and supported his education.  Bishop Dunne, his successor, also supported Sheen in his education and allowed him to teach at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.  At this time, Sheen was asked to go on radio to talk about religion.  At first the producers thought no one would be interested in what he had to say, but they were proven wrong.  When television became popular Sheen was asked to do a half-hour show, Life is Worth Living, which made Sheen a celebrity who called upon to give lectures, conferences, and retreats for laity, clergy and religious.

Rodriguez shows through many that Sheen had a great impact on people’s lives.  One example is on the life of the actor Martin Sheen.  Martin Sheen’s real name is Ramon Estevez, but he was so impressed by Bishop Sheen that he changed his name to Sheen.  Fulton Sheen was also known for having the gift of reading souls or hearts.  He was able to read that a person was in grave sin and that he was to help them by convincing them to confess their sins or even to convert.

Rodriguez records that when Pope John Paul II came to the United States in 1979 Sheen went up to the Pope.  The Pope hugged him and said to him, “You have written and spoken well of the Lord Jesus.  You are a loyal son of the Church.”  This sums up well the ministry and life of Fulton J. Sheen.

Janel Rodriguez is a freelance writer.  She has written two books for children, Nely Galan (1997) which is part of the Contemporary Biographies series and Gloria Estefan (1996) which is part of the Contemporary Hispanic Americans series.  This present biography is recommended to those interested in the life of Fulton J. Sheen.

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