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The Top 5 Books to Introduce You to the Life and Wisdom of Fulton Sheen

Fulton Sheen loved his books.

In fact, he often spoke of his best friends being his little books. And he had many of these friends. Like a good friend, they were always there when he needed them.

Yes. Sheen loved his books — and I’m glad he did because he synthesized everything he read and translated their wisdom into a language our modern world can easily grasp. He wanted to help us make sense of our world, understand its errors, and discover how to fix them.

Where do I start?

When it comes to reading Sheen himself, one question I get asked a lot is “What books do I start with?”

Sheen wrote over 60 books, and countless articles and pamphlets. He delivered hundreds of radio broadcasts and telecasts, and we have recordings from dozens of retreats that he led. So, figuring out where to start with him isn’t an easy question to answer.

Anything you listen to from Fulton Sheen will impact your life for the better. So, my first suggestion is simply to start with anything Fulton Sheen you can get your hands on. God will help guide that, trust me.

HINT: There are lots of his talks available for free on YouTube.

But if you’re specifically looking for books to read, here are what I consider the top 5 Fulton Sheen books whose wisdom you should reflect on and incorporate into your life:

  1. Treasure in Clay — It’s important to get to know an author before reading his works. When it comes to Fulton Sheen, the timing and purpose of each of his works grew out of his most significant personal experiences, as well as the culture surrounding each period of his life. Treasure in Clay is Sheen’s mature and humble reflection on his own life—the “why” behind everything he did as a priest and evangelist, along with the secrets to his “success” in converting souls.

  2. The Life of Christ — Often considered his great masterpiece, Sheen wrote The Life of Christ during a period of intense personal suffering. Most significantly, his highly successful television show was abruptly cancelled immediately after having a fall out with Cardinal Spellman. But because of this intense suffering, Sheen was able to reflect for us on the life of Our Blessed Lord with particularly penetrating insight.

  3. The World’s First Love — I have a very personal love for this book. After all, it was one of the key inspirations behind my doctoral dissertation and subsequent book The Woman: Mary as the Mediatrix in the Teaching of Fulton J. Sheen. In The World’s First Love, Sheen makes the mystery of Mary really come alive. Mary becomes so real, and her life so applicable to every aspect of our Christian life. He also shows how the fate of our world is tied to Mary.

  4. Way to Happiness — We’re all on a quest to find happiness. Sadly, the world has substituted many false “goods” for the only true Good that leads to real happiness. This has led to us becoming the most depressed and purposeless civilization in history, despite all of our technological advances. In Way to Happiness, Sheen gives us the blueprint for overcoming the egotism that has led to our broken world, and guides us down the only path to true happiness.

  5. Three to Get Married — In his usual comprehensive style, Sheen touches on everything essential for a thriving, fruitful, and happy marriage — regardless of the circumstances. If you love Pope St. John Paul II’s “Theology of the Body,” then this is a must-have complement to it. Here Sheen sets the stage for what John Paul II will unfold in his masterpiece. Sheen’s wisdom for married and engaged couples will help renew, reorient and strengthen your own marriage.

This is more than enough to get you started and well-acquainted with the person, heart, and mind of Fulton Sheen. These books will set you up to better appreciate and enjoy his other 56+ books that are waiting for you. Each book you read will only make you love Sheen more and, if you incorporate his wisdom into your life, become a true “friend” of his.

The purpose and mission of the Fulton Sheen Institute is to help facilitate this friendship through its events and formation. Sheen might be the best friend you ever discover. He has been for me. And now he’s waiting to befriend you!


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