Bernard James Sheil

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The Most Reverend

Bernard James Sheil
Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago
InstalledMay 1, 1928
Term endedSeptember 13, 1969
OrdinationMay 21, 1910
ConsecrationMay 1, 1928
Personal details
Born(1888-02-18)February 18, 1888
Chicago, Illinois
DiedSeptember 13, 1969(1969-09-13) (aged 81)
Tucson, Arizona
DenominationRoman Catholic Church

Bernard James Sheil (February 18, 1888 – September 13, 1969) was an Auxiliary Roman Catholic Bishop of Chicago.


Born and raised in Chicago, Sheil was ordained a priest on May 3, 1910. He was named auxiliary Bishop of Chicago in 1928, a post he held for over forty years. As bishop he was given the titular see of Pegae. On June 5, 1959, he was raised to the rank of Archbishop, being named titular Archbishop of Selge.

Sheil was "outspoken advocate of social justice in the underprivileged and marginalized sectors of the community." His pro-labor stance led him to endorse some controversial strikes.[1]

Bishop Sheil was founder of Catholic Youth Organization (CYO). According to a history of Catholic Scouting, while Cardinal Mundelein of Chicago had "explored the possibility of Scouting for his 'street kiddies,' it was not until his newly consecrated auxiliary, Bishop Bernard J. Sheil, took the reins, that Catholic Scouting flourished in Chicago."[2] He was awarded the Silver Buffalo Award by the Boy Scouts of America in 1942.[3]

The Sheil School of Social Studies, which focused on adult education, opened at CYO headquarters in 1943. In eleven years of operation, it enrolled 20,000 students. In 1954, Sheil vehemently attacked Joseph McCarthy, at a time when most Catholics supported this right-wing senator, provoking the withdrawal of some of the financial supporters of his projects. The Sheil Catholic Center at Northwestern University is also named for him.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Rosswurm, Steve (2005). "Roman Catholics". Encyclopedia of Chicago History. Chicago Historical Society.
  2. ^ Peavy, David L. "NCCS Chronology". History of Catholic Scouting.
  3. ^ Peavy, David L. "Key Personnel and Conferences". History of Catholic Scouting.
  4. ^ "The History of the Sheil Catholic Center". Sheil Catholic Center. Archived from the original on 13 August 2007.

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