A year ago, I gave a short list of faithfully departed souls that I thought we’d keep hearing more about, and in that year, things have developed rapidly. So I thought I’d make some more predictions. Here are four more faithfully departed I think you’ll start to hear much more about soon and very soon.
Ven. Fulton Sheen
May 8, 1895- December 9, 1979, declared venerable in 2012
I didn’t include Ven. Archbishop Fulton Sheen in my last iteration because his cause for canonization has been stalled due to a disagreement between the Diocese of Peoria and the Archdiocese of New York over his internment. However, just a few months ago in November 2016, the New York Supreme Court ordered the Archdiocese of New York to allow for his family to disinter his remains and move them to the Diocese of Peoria. With this in mind, I think it is quite likely that we will be hearing much more about the beloved Ven. Sheen very soon.
Why He’s Cool: There are so many reasons this man is cool that it is hard to pare down! He was an evangelist, radio/TV personality, writer and missionary, most known for his television series, “Life is Worth Living” which had a viewing audience of over 30 million people. One very memorable moment from his television program came in February 1953 when he gave a dramatic reading of the burial scene from Shakespeare’s Julius Ceasar but replaced the characters’ names with those of prominent Soviet leaders Stalin, Lavrenty Beria, Georgy Malenkov, and Andrey Vyshinsky and concluded by saying, “Stalin must one day meet his judgment.” The dictator suffered a stroke a few days later and died within a week. He authored over twenty books (two of my favorites being Three to Get Married and The World’s First Love) and had a cassette tape ministry. More can be learned about
Notable Quote: “There are not a hundred people in America who hate the Catholic Church. There are millions of people who hate what they wrongly believe to be the Catholic Church — which is, of course, quite a different thing.”
April 20, 1923- March 27, 2016 (Easter Sunday)
Why She’s Cool: She founded EWTN, ’nuff said. But seriously, she founded the religious community of Our Lady of the Angels in Birmingham, Alabama to appeal to the African Americans in the south, opened the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament, had a sharp wit and tongue, recorded her talks, and wrote books. She claims to have been healed from a stomach ailment through the intercession of St. Therese of Lisieux when she was a young woman. Mother Angelica understood the importance and power of redemptive suffering and often made known her wishes that everything possible be done to keep her alive as long as possible so that she could suffer one more day for love of Christ. She began her own passion on Good Friday 2016 as she was in much pain from her ailments and being bedridden, but became more peaceful after the 3 o’clock hour. She died in the evening on Easter Sunday. You can learn more about her here and read some of her amazing quotes here.
Notable Quote: “Where most men work for degrees after their names, we work for one before our names: ‘St.’ It’s a much more difficult degree to attain. It takes a lifetime, and you don’t get your diploma until you’re dead.”
Ven. Antonietta Meo
December 15, 1930- July 3, 1937, declared venerable on December 17, 2007
Why She’s Cool: At just 6 and a half years of age, Antonietta would be the youngest non-martyr ever canonized by the Church. At age 5, she was diagnosed with osteosarcoma and had to have her leg amputated. She was then fitted with a heavy, burdensome prosthetic leg so that she could continue to play with other children, which she did so cheerfully. She wrote or dictated more than 100 letters to Jesus and the Blessed Mother, which she always left at the foot of the cross. One such letter read, “Dear Jesus, I love you very much. I want to abandon myself in your hands. I want to abandon myself in your arms. Do with me what you want. Help me with your grace. You help me, since without your grace, I am nothing.” Antonietta was able to receive the sacraments of Baptism, First Confession, Confirmation, and First Communion before her death and also received extreme unction. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has said of her, “Her life, so simple and at the same time so important, shows that holiness is for all ages: for children and for young people, for adults and for the elderly. Every season of our life can be a good time for deciding to love Jesus seriously and to follow him faithfully.” More can be learned about her here.
Notable Quote: On viewing the loss of her leg as a sacrifice for the conversion of sinners- “I am very happy that Jesus gave me this problem [the loss of her leg] so that I may be his dearest one. Pain is like fabric, the stronger it is, the more it’s worth.”
Fr. Michael Scanlan
December 1, 1931- January 7, 2017
Why He’s Cool: I know it’s been merely two months since his passing, but, if you haven’t heard of this man yet, get ready. Fr. Mike was a Harvard educated lawyer who joined the Franciscan Third Order and was ordained a priest. What he is probably most famous for is reviving the College of Steubenville into what is today the Franciscan University of Steubenville and instituting the Steubenville Conferences. He was a passionate preacher and very involved with the charismatic renewal. Fr. Mike was president of FUS for 26 years until 2000 when he became chancellor of the university until 2011. After this, he retired to the Franciscan motherhouse in Loretto, PA. Fr. Mike was once arrested while peacefully protesting outside of an abortion clinic and spent a week in jail; he also erected a tomb to the unborn on the campus of Franciscan University where the remains of six aborted babies are interred, some of which he rescued from dumpsters of medical waste himself. Perhaps, though, my favorite story of him is my own small one. I once had the immense privilege of going to confession with him and after I confessed a particularly dark sin in my life, he said to me, “You are a princess! Your place is in the throne room. You don’t need [this sin]. You have the power to tell Satan to go back from where he came.” You can read more about Fr. Mike here.
Notable Quote: “Be open to the Eucharistic amazement.”