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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

3/10/2014 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (

Baby's heart didn't start beating until after a more than an hour after birth

James Fulton Engstrom was born three years ago. What's so remarkable was that he was born stillborn - and his heart didn't start beating until 61 minutes after his birth. His parents credited the miracle to Archbishop Fulton Sheen. A seven-member team of medical experts could find no natural explanation - and so the miracle was confirmed by the Vatican.

If authenticated, Archbishop Sheen would be beatified, elevating his from 'venerable' to 'blessed.' A second miracle would need to be authenticated for canonization for the Archbishop to become a saint.

If authenticated, Archbishop Sheen would be beatified, elevating his from "venerable" to "blessed." A second miracle would need to be authenticated for canonization for the Archbishop to become a saint.


By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (

3/10/2014 (1 year ago)

Published in Living Faith

Keywords: Archbishop Fulton Sheen, miracle, stillborn

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Archbishop Fulton Sheen gained fame for his 1950s television show "Life Is Worth Living." He also served for 16 years for leading the Society for the Propagation of the Faith.

The event was announced in the Diocese of Peoria, Illinois, by the Archbishop Fulton Sheen Foundation, which is led by Bishop Daniel Jenky of Peoria.

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"Today is a significant step in the cause for the beatification and canonization of our beloved Fulton Sheen," Bishop Jenky said in a statement. "There are many more steps ahead and more prayers are needed. But today is a good reason to rejoice."

When James' mother, Bonnie Engstrom was pregnant, a feeling came over her that "God wants this baby to exist", she said. "Maybe he's going to be the pope. We didn't know, but we were shooting high."

Mrs. Engstrom described what happened at a 2012 gathering of the Midwest region of the Catholic Press Association in Peoria.

She says that during delivery, what caused James to be stillborn was that his umbilical cord had knotted itself, cutting off his blood flow and oxygen supply. The further he progressed through the birth canal, the tighter the knot became. "He was born stillborn," Engstrom said, remembering how "his arms flopped by his side" when she reached for him to hold him.

While others did CPR and chest compressions for 20 minutes waiting for an ambulance to arrive, Engstrom said she had no pre-composed prayer asking for help from Archbishop Sheen. "I just kept repeating his name over and over in my head: Fulton Sheen, Fulton Sheen, Fulton Sheen," she recounted. "I didn't know what else to do."

Described as "PEA", for "pulseless electrical activity," medics tried two injections of epinephrine on James, which didn't work. A nurse held one of James's feet in an effort to give him some measure of comfort, and Engstrom said she remarked later: "It was so cold, it was so cold. It was like in the saying 'cold and dead.'"

Engstrom remembered that a doctor in the emergency room said, "We'll try for five more minutes, then call it," recording the time of death. "If he had known about the previous 40 minutes" of efforts to revive him before arriving at the hospital, she said, "he would have just called it."

"They were just about to call it when his heart started beating - 148 beats per minute, which is healthy for a newborn. And it never faltered."

The case will next be reviewed by a board of theologians. The case, if approved, could move on to the cardinals and bishops who advise the Pope on these matters. Finally, the miracle would be presented to Pope Francis, who would then officially affirm that God performed a miracle through the intercession of Archbishop Sheen. There is no timeline as to when these next steps might take place.

If authenticated, Archbishop Sheen would be beatified, elevating his from "venerable" to "blessed." A second miracle would need to be authenticated for canonization for the Archbishop to become a saint.


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