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Meet the priest who treated alcoholism with chalk

Fulton Sheen became famous writing on a chalkboard in front of a huge television audience. Fr. Joseph Martin, not so much.

But Fr. Martin may have helped as many people find salvation as Bishop Sheen did.

While the famous TV evangelist focused on the basic truths of the Catholic faith, helping to spread the Gospel in his own way, Fr. Martin focused on the truths of one particular evil, alcoholism, and helped spread the salvation of sobriety. And his missionary work began when he picked up a piece of chalk in front of a small audience in Maryland. Although he’s been dead for 10 years, his work lives on in a treatment center that was once called Father Martin’s Ashley.

When he died at the age of 84 in March of 2009, the New York Times called him a “national leader in the fight” against alcoholism.

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