Thursday 16 February 2017

The Archbishop and I: My Childhood Friend Fulton J. Sheen - Margo Weber Nassar

The Archbishop and I: My Childhood Friend Fulton J. Sheen:
Discover the personal side of this legendary Catholic archbishop in this newly revealed story!
Marguerite (Margo) Weber Nassar
ISBN 9781536856804

I have known about Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen for a number of years, but it has only been the last year that I have taken to reading his books. Having read a number of books by the Archbishop this one ended up recommended based on other reads, so I thought I would give it a try. It is a little volume but adds some interesting insight into the man and the legend that is Archbishop Sheen. In the preface the author states: "I never intended to write this. This short read began when I was writing my autobiography. The section on my childhood friendship with Archbishop Sheen, however, took on a life of its own. I realized I had written a piece shorter than a book and longer than an article-a perfect short read." And that is exactly what this little volume is.

Margo was a very lucky young lady, for at the age of 11 she encountered the Archbishop for the first time and he befriended her and her family. She says: "I was an eleven-year-old schoolgirl from Oregon when I had the good fortune to meet Fulton J. Sheen. We became friends and pen pals in his sunset years, and we connected in uncommon circumstances. With age, I began to understand how lucky I was to have met such a human being. I have heard it said that his combination of virtue, intellect, and charisma comes along about once a millennium."  About the chance encounter that sparked an unlikely friendship.

The sections in the book are:
Section 1: Leaving Oregon
Section 2: Arriving in Virginia
Section 3: Visiting New York
Section 4: Coming Back to Virginia
Section 5: Returning to Oregon
Life Lessons
About Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen
Closing Message
About the Author

It is clear from reading this book that Margo had a special relationship with Archbishop Sheen. It is also clear that he continued to shape and have influence on her life after he had passed away. As a reader who is just beginning to really engage with Sheen's writings I found this book insightful, encouraging and at times very entertaining. From the story of their first encounter to 1974 when Sheen baptized Margo's little sister this is an encouraging story. Especially looking back almost 40 years after his passing, the image of Sheen as a media personality, as the first televangelist, as a theologian sometimes we lose sight of the person. This book brings Sheen back down to earth.  Like that friend of the family that is as close as blood. 

This book was a great little read, and I would recommend it to anyone interested in the life or works of Archbishop Sheen. It will shed a little light on him that you may not get from other sources.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2017 Catholic Reading Plan!

Books by Fulton J. Sheen:
God and Intelligence in Modern Philosophy
The Seven Last Words
Philosophy of Science
The Eternal Galilean
Calvary and the Mass
The Cross and the Beatitudes
Communism and the Conscience of the West
Peace of Soul
Three to Get Married
Life Is Worth Living Series 1-5
Way to Happiness
Way to Inner Peace 
Life of Christ
Missions and the World Crisis
The Power of Love
Footprints in a Darkened Forest
Lenten and Easter Inspirations
Treasure in Clay: The Autobiography of Fulton J. Sheen

Books About Fulton J. Sheen:
Fulton Sheen - Louise Merrie - CTS Biographies

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