Can you remember who influenced your life the most? Perhaps it was someone from your childhood, an adult—such as a relative or teacher or priest—who made you see clearly what was important for you, what shape your life should take?
That’s usually the way it happens: children are most often influenced by the lives of adults around them. But in one little-known situation, it worked the opposite way. And, oddly enough, the adult influenced by the child’s life lived half a world away from her, and the two never met!
The story starts in the 1940s, just as China was emerging from the civil war that would bring Mao Zedong and the Communist Party to power. In a village near Shanghai, a simple Catholic family hears the news that soldiers from the People’s Revolutionary Army are drawing near. When the soldiers arrive, they imprison the teaching sisters and the priest, and close the church.
One little girl had only recently learned about Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, and she knew that thirty-two consecrated Hosts had been scattered on the church floor when the soldiers closed it.
Bravely, night after night,
she slipped into the empty church, prayed,
and consumed one of the consecrated Hosts,
until she was discovered and killed as an example to the rest of the village.
This young girl died at the altar, following her faith to the end.
The Chinese village priest eventually escaped and made his way to America, and that was where he told the story of this young girl’s courage to a newly ordained priest who had made a commitment to spend one hour every day with the Blessed Sacrament. Realizing the price this unnamed Chinese girl had paid for the privilege of an hour of Adoration put the practice into perspective in this young priest’s life, and he persevered. He remembered her throughout his own life’s mission, which was to bring Christ and the Gospel to people all over the world through the media of radio and television.
That young priest would become Venerable Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen!
Throughout his long life and ministry, Sheen told this story over and over. She continued to inspire him when his own will was lacking, his own energy was flagging. She died a nameless martyr, and yet she touched millions of lives through Sheen’s devotion to her story.
Save 20% on both 32 Days: A Story of Faith and Courage, a fictionalized version of the young Chinese girl’s life and martyrdom which so inspired Archbishop Sheen (grades 3-5), as well as on Fulton J. Sheen, a concise volume of Venerable Sheen's wisdom which nourished generations of Catholics and will be sure to strengthen your faith also. (Releasing April 1).
Use the coupon code SHEEN20. (NOTE: If you purchase both of these books, we'll ship these to you on April 1 when Fulton J. Sheen is released, unless you indicate in the comments you want them shipped separately with individual shipping costs.)