The unbelievable miracle leading to Fulton Sheen’s beatification

James Fulton Engstrom was cured through Venerable Fulton Sheen’s intercession in a miracle that has been approved by the Vatican and is leading to his upcoming beatification. Bonnie Engstrom, mother of James, joined Morning Air® on Relevant Radio® to tell the unbelievable story of her stillborn son’s restoration to perfect health.

“This was almost nine years ago now, but we had a planned home birth. Everything was going well—I was healthy, the baby was healthy—it was my third planned home birth and we just felt such peace. It was going to be beautiful, right?” said Engstrom.

Quickly, things changed. “We didn’t know there as a knot in our son’s umbilical cord so that as I was delivering him, that knot tightened. And it tightened so tightly that he was a stillborn. And then everything changed; what was supposed to be this beautiful moment just shifted. My midwife and her assistant immediately started CPR, I just started shutting down and going into a state of shock, but my husband, thankfully, had the wherewithal to grab some water and do an emergency baptism on our son. … He didn’t have a pulse, he was completely lifeless so we just waited for the paramedics to come.”

In that dark moment, Bonnie called upon the intercession of Archbishop Fulton Sheen, whom she’d grown in devotion to during her pregnancy. “I have this memory of while we were waiting for the paramedics of me sitting and looking at my son and repeating Fulton Sheen’s name over and over again in my head. Fulton Sheen, Fulton Sheen, Fulton Sheen. And I really think that was—I didn’t have the ability to really pray anything, I was exhausted, I didn’t know what was happening and so I kind of just relied on Fulton Sheen to pray for us.”

“James was taken in an ambulance to the hospital and in the ambulance and in the emergency room he continued to not have a pulse and they were working on him, working on him, and nothing was happening—he was not responding to any of the medications or anything like that,” explained Engstrom. “So finally the doctor said, okay hands off, it’s time to call time of death. And as soon as they did that, his heart started to beat; it just shot right up to a healthy heart rate and it never stopped again. Even though he had been without a pulse for 61 minutes.”

It’s a story that can bring chills. Imagine the heartbreak of Bonnie and her husband, suddenly turned into immense joy. Doctors warned the Engstroms that James would likely have severe brain or organ damage and other health problems. “The doctors expected massive organ failure, they expected James to die … but he started breathing above the machine, he started looking at us with his eyes and so we knew, okay he’s not blind. Just over and over again something would happen and he would hit a milestone and he was just acting like a normal baby,” said Engstrom. “It was amazing to see how God was showing us how great he is.”

Today, James is a healthy young boy. On July 6, the Congregation for the Causes of Saints announced that the miracle of James’s healing had been approved for the beatification of Fulton Sheen.

Ven. Fulton Sheen, pray for us!

Listen to the full interview:

Lindsey is a wife, mother, and contributing author at Relevant Radio. She holds a degree in Journalism and Advertising from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Lindsey enjoys writing, baking, and liturgical living with her young family.