Theologians charged with advising the Vatican on causes for sainthood have agreed that a reported miracle in 2010 should be attributed to the intercession of Fulton Sheen, the archbishop from Peoria known as one of the world's first televangelists, according to church officials.
The case involved a child born in September 2010, according to a statement by the Peoria Diocese, where Sheen was ordained in 1919.
For more than an hour the child demonstrated no signs of life as medical professionals attempted to revive the baby, the diocese said. The child's family sought the intercession of Sheen and, after 61 minutes, the baby reportedly came back to life.
More than three years later, the child has fully recovered, according to the statement from the diocese.
In March of 2014, a team of Vatican medical experts said they could find no natural explanation for the child's case. It will next be reviewed by the cardinals and bishops who make up the Congregation of the Causes of Saints. Final authentication of the miracle must come from Pope Francis.
Sheen rose to prominence in 1930 when he launched a weekly Sunday night radio broadcast called "The Catholic Hour." In 1951, he moved to television with a show titled "Life Is Worth Living."
With just a few props, including a chalkboard and a statue he dubbed "Our Lady of Television," Sheen challenged the ratings of comedian Milton Berle and took on the communist regime of Josef Stalin. In 1952, he won an Emmy Award for "Most Outstanding Television Personality."
If canonized, Sheen could be the first male American-born saint, though others are also in the running and could be canonized first.