Maisie Ward

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Maisie Ward
Born(1889-01-04)4 January 1889
Shanklin, Isle of Wight, England
Died28 January 1975(1975-01-28) (aged 86)
New York, NY
GenreBiography, Apologetics
Notable worksGilbert Keith Chesterton
SpouseFrank Sheed
ChildrenRosemary Sheed, Wilfrid Sheed

Mary Josephine "Maisie" Ward Sheed (4 January 1889 – 28 January 1975), who published under the name Maisie Ward, was a descendant of one of Britain's distinguished Catholic families, and a writer, speaker, and publisher. Maisie's brother Leo Ward was co-founder of the publishing house Sheed and Ward; Maisie took his place when Leo left to become a priest.

Early life[edit]

Maisie Ward hailed from genteel Victorian blue bloods. She was born in Shanklin on the Isle of Wight on 4 January 1889, the eldest of the five children of Wilfrid Philip Ward and the novelist Josephine Mary Hope-Scott Ward. On her mother's side she was descended from Henry Fitzalan-Howard, 14th Duke of Norfolk and on her father's side from William George Ward, a prominent member of the Oxford Movement. All four of her grandparents were converts to Roman Catholicism.[1]

She spent her childhood at first on the Isle of Wight, then Eastbourne, and finally in Dorking, before being sent off to board at St Mary's School, Cambridge. Here she was influenced by the preaching of Robert Hugh Benson and inspired by Mary Ward who had founded the order of nuns who ran the school.[1]


On leaving school, Maisie returned home to become her father's secretary.[2] She worked for the Red Cross as a nurse during the First World War, and after her father's death in 1916 she co-edited with her mother a posthumous collection of his last lectures.[3]

In 1919, Ward became a charter member of the Catholic Evidence Guild. Ward was a forceful public lecturer. It was through the Guild that she met Frank Sheed. The couple have sometimes been cited as a modern Catholic example of street preaching.[4] They were married in 1926; that same year, they moved to London and founded Sheed and Ward publishing.

Ward was well-known for her best-selling authorized biography of friend G. K. Chesterton,[5] written at the request of Chesterton's widow. Ward also wrote biographies of John Henry Newman, her own father, and Robert Browning; and in other areas, including New Testament scholarship, spirituality, and stories of saints and lesser notables, among them her friend, the writer and mystic Caryll Houselander. The amount and quality of what they wrote, spoke, translated and edited are a tribute to the contagious enthusiasm born of their felicitous pairing.[6]

Maisie Ward died 28 January 1975 in Jersey City, New Jersey. Sheed wrote a posthumous tribute to his wife under the title The Instructed Heart.[7]


Ward was the great-great-grandniece of Robert Plumer Ward, father of Sir Henry George Ward and grandfather of Dudley Ward; the great-granddaughter of William Ward, and of Henry Fitzalan-Howard, 14th Duke of Norfolk and Augusta Mary Minna Catherine Lyons; the granddaughter of William George Ward, and of James Hope-Scott and Lady Victoria Alexandrina Fitzalan-Howard; the niece of James Hope, 1st Baron Rankeillour; and the daughter of Wilfrid Philip Ward and the novelist Josephine Mary Hope-Scott Ward.

Maisie and Frank's son, Wilfrid Sheed was also a writer,[8] and their daughter, Rosemary Sheed was a translator.[9]


  • Catholic Evidence Training Outlines, ed., Benziger Bros., 1925.
  • The Wilfrid Wards and the Transition, Sheed & Ward, 1934.
  • Insurrection vs. Resurrection, Sheed & Ward, 1937.
  • The Oxford Group, Sheed & Ward, 1937.
  • Gilbert Keith Chesterton, Sheed & Ward, 1943.
  • The Splendor of the Rosary, Sheed & Ward, 1945.
  • Young Mr. Newman, Sheed & Ward, 1948.
  • Return to Chesterton, Sheed & Ward, 1952.
  • They Saw His Glory, Sheed & Ward, 1956.
  • Early Church Portrait Gallery, Sheed & Ward, 1959.
  • Saints Who Made History: The First Five Centuries, Sheed & Ward, 1960.
  • Carryll Houselander: That Divine Eccentric, Sheed & Ward, 1962.
  • Unfinished Business [autobiography], Sheed & Ward, 1963.
  • The Letters Of Caryll Houselander: Her Spiritual Legacy, ed., Sheed & Ward, 1965.
  • Robert Browning and His World: His Private Face, Holt, 1967.
  • The Tragi-Comedy of Pen Browning, Sheed & Ward, 1972.
  • To and Fro on the Earth: A Sequel to an Autobiography, Sheed & Ward, 1973.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Greene, Dana. "Ward, Mary Josephine". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/45905. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  2. ^ Sheed, Wilfrid (1986). Frank and Maisie: a memoir with parents. New York: Simon And Schuster. p. 48. ISBN 978-0-671-62813-0.
  3. ^ Ward, Josephine; Ward, Maisie, eds. (1918). Last Lectures by Wilfred Ward. London: Longmans, Green & Co.
  4. ^ Thrapp, Dan (13 March 1965). "Street Corner Is Place to Preach, Author Says". LA Times.
  5. ^ Ward, Maisie (1943). Gilbert Keith Chesterton. London: Sheed & Ward.
  6. ^ "Frank Sheed". Ignatius Insight. Ignatius Press.
  7. ^ Sheed, Frank (1979). The instructed heart: soundings at four points. London: Sheed and Ward. ISBN 978-0-7220-7935-5.
  8. ^ Eder, Richard (30 October 1985). "A Son Sheds Light on His Parents' Radiance". LA Times.
  9. ^ Carlos Marighella (1971), For the Liberation of Brazil, translated by John Butt and Rosemary Sheed, London: Penguin.

Further reading[edit]

  • Frank Sheed, The Church and I, Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1974.
  • Wilfrid Sheed, Frank and Maisie: A Memoir with Parents, New York: Simon & Schuster, 1985.
  • Dana Greene, The Living of Maisie Ward. University of Notre Dame Press, 1997.
  • Frank Sheed, The Instructed Heart: Soundings at Four Depths, Our Sunday Visitor, 1979.
  • "Concealed With a Kiss," in Joseph Pearce, Literary Giants, Literary Catholics, Ignatius Press, 2005.

External links[edit]