About Rev. Charles E. Sheedy, C.S.C

Charles Sheedy Young

Rev. Charles E. Sheedy, C.S.C., was dean of the University of Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters from 1951 to 1969. He was a professor in the Department of Theology (1942–52 and 1968–79) and at one time also served as department chair.

He received his bachelor of arts degree from Notre Dame in 1933, a bachelor of law from the University of Pittsburgh in 1936, and a doctor of sacred theology from Catholic University of America in 1945.

During his lifetime, Fr. Sheedy was widely published and was a well-known advocate for the abolition of the death penalty and for the cessation of nuclear warfare. His scholarship and research focused primarily on moral theology and Christian ethics. He said in 1952, “The secret of knowing what is morally right … is in seeing Christ in all the people with whom you come into contact.”

He was a close friend and colleague of former University of Notre Dame President Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh, C.S.C. Together, they coauthored the booklet For God and Country, distributed by the United Service Organizations in Washington, D.C. Fr. Sheedy’s published works also include The Christian Virtues: A Book on Moral Theology for College Students and Lay Readers (University of Notre Dame Press, 1949) and Eucharistic Controversy of the Eleventh Century Against the Background of Pre-Scholastic Theology(Abrahams Magazine Service Press Inc., 1947).

Sheedy Bust

In honor of his contributions and dedication to the College and Notre Dame as a whole, the Sheedy Excellence in Teaching Award was established in 1970. Each year, the Sheedy Award is bestowed upon an outstanding College of Arts and Letters faculty member who has displayed excellence in research and instruction. The award winner must also motivate and enrich students using innovative and creative teaching methods while influencing teaching and learning within the department, College, and University.

Fr. Sheedy died on April 17, 1990, at age 77 in South Bend, Ind.

In 1991, Fr. Hesburgh commissioned alumnus Jerry McKenna to create a bust of Fr. Sheedy. It remains on display in the Great Hall of O’Shaughnessy to this day.