"To our Heavenly Mother, may these words borne on waves of light bring others to the Word and the Light of the world."
-Fulton J. Sheen
Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen
May 8, 1895-December 9, 1979
PETER [FULTON] JOHN SHEEN was born May 8, 1895, in El Paso, Illinois. Ordained September 20, 1919, Archbishop Sheen became one of the most popular preachers of the twentieth century. In 1930, he began
The Catholic Hour broadcasts on NBC radio, which ran for twenty-two years. He spoke for the first religious service ever telecast in 1940. In 1950, the bishops of the United States invited him to become National Director of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith, where he served sixteen years. Pope Pius XII appointed him bishop in 1951.
From 1951 until 1957, he hosted the highly acclaimed television series,
Life is Worth Living, for which he won an Emmy in 1953. He wrote over sixty books and dozens of articles. Two books,
Peace of Soul  and Life is Worth Living  became national best sellers. In 1962, Pope John XXIII appointed him to the Vatican Council II Commission on the Missions. In 1966, Pope Paul VI appointed Archbishop Sheen Bishop of Rochester, New York, where he served until his retirement in 1969.
Archbishop Sheen held a Ph.D. and an
Agrege en Philosophie from the University of Louvain, Belgium. He attended the Sorbonne and was the first American to receive the
Cardinal Mercier Prize for International Philosophy. He was a professor of philosophy at Catholic University of America from 1926-1950.
Archbishop Sheen died at his home in New York City on December 9, 1979 and is
interred in the crypt at St. Patricks Cathedral. His books, audios and video recordings continue to enjoy international popularity. Cardinal O'Connor gave preliminary approval in 2000 for an investigation into the life, writings, and teaching of Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, a preparatory step toward beatification in the Catholic Church.
Jon Hallingstad was introduced to the writings of Archbishop Sheen shortly after graduation from the
United States Military Academy at West Point. After reading dozens of his books, Jon came across an audio series entitled,
Life is Worth Living. Though the title shared the same name as Archbishop Sheen's Emmy Award winning television program (1951-1957) and best-selling book (1953), it was recorded in 1965, eight years after the popular show went off the air. The work was privately recorded by Archbishop Sheen in his New York City residence but never published. The material was reproduced on records and distributed by
Propagation of the Faith Recordings.
Jon purchased an audiocassette copy of the work in 1982 and became Catholic in
1983, largely because of the influence of Archbishop Sheen. In 1986, he
transcribed this historic work to a Macintosh computer from a Sony Walkman,
creating a 143,000 word document with over 500 footnotes. Editing has reduced
the work to about 122,000 words. What has been edited are the obvious mistakes
that occur in an unscripted production, and illustrations that are outdated. It
took over five months to transcribe the opus and eight months to edit it.
The process was complicated by the fact the transcription was taken from a poor-quality reproduction of a copy of the master. The original recordings have not been located.
The work stands as the last major original production by Sheen.
In 1988, Jon sought out a publisher but surprisingly, found no interest within
the Catholic community. The manuscript went into storage until 1999 when
he decided to self-publish the work after encouragement from his pastor, Rev.
Msgr. Robert Wargo. Jon holds a B.S. from West
Point and an M.S. from Boston University. He is an active member of the Knight's
of Columbus, Council 10921 in Orefield, Pennsylvania.
Esther B. Davidowitz
Esther Baum Davidowitz was born in Hazelton, Pennsylvania in 1933. After graduation from
Wyoming Seminary in Wilkes-Barre, PA in 1951, she attended
Simmons College in Boston, receiving a B.S. degree in 1955. She took additional coursework at
Wilkes University in the arts and humanities after her 1955 marriage to William Davidowitz.
Mrs. Davidowitz has played a major role in the cultural and educational life of Wyoming Valley for over forty years. She has been a member of the Wilkes University Board of Trustees since 1973, serving as Board Treasurer, Secretary and Chair of the University's Academic Program Committee. From this position she was a key player in the institution's growth and diversification, including its elevation to university status in 1991. She has been a close advisor and friend of the university's first four presidents, and co-edited the writings of Wilkes' founding president, Dr. Eugene S. Farley.
Besides Dr. Farley's collected writings,
Essays of an Educator, Mrs. Davidowitz edited a study of the fiction of I.B. Singer and
Master Dreams, by Dvorah Telushkin. She also proofread Words that Hurt, Words that Heal by Rabi Joseph Teluskin. Your Life is Worth Living is her most recent publication.