The miracle behind Archbishop Fulton John Sheen’s forthcoming canonization into becoming a full-fledged Catholic saint, is through a young boy named James Fulton Engstrom. Born stillborn in September 2010 to Travis and Bonnie Engstrom in Goodfiled, Peoria, Illinois, baby James came back to life after 61 minutes of not showing any signs of pulse or a heartbeat.
Although James’ parents came to know about the late Archbishop, only, by watching YouTube videos of old episodes of the TV envangelist’s “Life is Worth Living, his teachings had strengthened the young couple’s Catholic beliefs.
So much so that throughout the 61 minute-ordeal, Travis and Bonnie had invoked the name of “Fulton Sheen;’ praying for his intercession in asking God to breathe back life into their newborn son.
Thus, the miracle happened. Baby James’ heart soon started beating only a few seconds away from being legally declared as dead. Still, the people at the hospital tried not to raise their hopes; telling them that baby James’ was still in a life-threatening situation; and if ever he survives, some damage could be expected.
The Engstrom couple continued to pray for Archbp. Sheen’s intercession, asking family and friends to join them in their prayers so that baby James would grow up to live a normal healthy life.
Today and already nine years old, James Fulton Engstrom, is a typical bicycle-riding boy who loves “chicken nuggets” and an avid fan of “Star Wars.”
Bonnie Engstrom Asks the Peoria Diocese to Recommend Archbp. Sheen’s Canonization
Bonnie Engstrom said, God allowed the miracle to happen not just for baby James and the Engstrom family, but for His Honor and Glory.
“I really do not think it was given to us, for us,”…“The miracle was given to the church, for the church.”
This belief moved Bonnie to share her experience with the Peoria Diocese as proof that even decades after his death, Archbishop Fulton John Sheen and his work as a TV evangelist had touched their lives, strengthened their Catholic faith and belief in the power of prayers.
The case for Archbp. Sheen’s recommendation for canonization was officially opened by Bishop Daniel Jenky of Peoria in 2002. The case received official recognition in June 2012 from Pope Benedict XVI, who officially declared that Archbishop Sheen had demonstrated a life filled with “heroic virtues” in accordance with the decree of the “Congregation for the Causes of Saints.”
Finally, and after years of gathering evidence, conducting interviews and recommendations, including the recommendation that came from a 7-member panel of medical experts, Pope Francis confirmed on July 5, 2019 that a miracle did happen when the Engstrom family’s prayers were answered through the intercession of the late Archbishop Sheen.