There could be a “St. Fulton.” Catholic leaders in Archbishop Fulton Sheen’s hometown of Peoria are trying to convince the Vatican that Sheen deserves sainthood.
“On June 28, the Holy Father (Pope Benedict XVI) affirmed that Fulton Sheen lived a life of heroic virtue and sanctity and, therefore, can be called venerable,” says Msgr. Stanley Deptula, executive director of the Archbishop Fulton John Sheen Foundation. “Now the church begins the arduous, lengthy discernment of whether God may have, in fact, worked a miracle, allegedly, through the intercession of the venerable servant of God, Fulton Sheen.”
Deptula says the investigation has revealed three alleged miracles, one of which is an incident which occurred just two years ago – 31 years after Sheen’s death. A Peoria infant was stillborn at home but was brought to life at a local hospital 61 minutes later. The mother, says Deptula, had immediately prayed for Sheen’s intercession.
“We’ve asked the Pope to consider the possibility that God may have worked a miraculous healing through Fulton Sheen’s intercession,” he said.
Sheen is best known for his 1950s television show, “Life Is Worth Living.” Being a celebrity and reaching a television audience, though, does not equal sainthood, Deptula says.
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“Because he was holy, because he loved God, and because he let the love of God transform every aspect of his life. That’s what makes a saint.”
Deptula believes the only step remaining is for God to make a decision known through the Vatican. He says that if there is a canonization, the official celebration will be in Peoria.
“I don’t think Facebook has a patron saint yet … but, boy, Fulton Sheen could be that kind of patron saint for the 21st Century,” says Deptula.