In 1963 my brother Tim and I
illustrated a manuscript based on the last week of Christ's life. The
book was never published.
By Fate, Destiny or the will of God, the manuscript
and pictures found their way to a Franciscan publishing company in Paterson
NJ. The head of the publishing company was a friend of Bishop Sheen.
He showed the artwork to Bishop Sheen. And a week later Tim and I were
in New York City meeting with the Bishop and his staff.
I had watched the Bishop on TV many times in the 1950's.
Standing in his presence I was in awe. The thought that I would ever
meet him had never occurred to me. Yet there I was, 24 years old, a
babe in the woods, wet behind the ears standing in front of Bishop Sheen.
During our conversation about the artwork we explained
to the Bishop that we were involved in film making in Detroit. He had
been planning on creating a series films that would show Americans how
most of the world lived in abject poverty. He asked us if we would like
to make those films for him. We saw it as an opportunity of a lifetime.
So of course we said yes. He smiled and hired us. I suppose you could
say that the rest is history.
The Bishop's passion for helping the poor and underprivileged
was legendary. Tim and I were swept up by his passion. And we made several
films on this subject. It was truly a rare honor and privilege not only
to have known Bishop Sheen but also to have worked closely with him
in his offices for three years. We met with the Bishop weekly and saw
him daily. We affectionately called him "Boss". He affectionately called
I have many wonderful memories of him. His inspiration,
generosity, kindness, humor, passion, love of life and love of people
was immense. He has been a source of light for me for the last 25 years.
And will continue to be in my future.
I have many great quotes pinned up on the walls of my
studio. One of them is from the Bishop. "Old men dream dreams, Young
men see visions." To me the bishop was eternally young.
When the opportunity arose to paint his portrait for
the 25th anniversary of his death, I was lit up like a bon fire. I only
hope the Bishop likes it.
I remember him with much love. He was a magnificent
human being. I was honored to have known him.
Prints are available, signed by Greg Hildebrandt.