Francis Joseph Sheed (March 20, 1897 in Sydney – November 20, 1982 in Jersey City) was an Australian-born lawyer, Catholic writer, publisher, and speaker. He and his wife Maisie Ward were famous in their day as the names behind the imprint Sheed & Ward and as forceful public lecturers in the Catholic Evidence Guild.
Sheed was born in Sydney on March 20, 1897 to John Sheed, a descendent of Scottish Presbyterians, and Mary Maloney, an Irish Catholic. At the insistence of their father, Frank Sheed and his brother Jack were raised Protestant. At age 16, Sheed surprised his family by declaring his decision to become a Catholic.
With an understanding of Protestant attitudes toward Catholicism, Sheed took up writing and speaking on the subject of Catholic apologetics, the rational defense of the Catholic faith. Sheed was a lay theologian in Catholicism in the mid-20th century when there was practically no such thing. He wrote a constant stream of books touching on almost every aspect of basic theology, several of which remain in print. His translation of St. Augustine's Confessions remains acclaimed. As publisher of an all-star roster including Karl Adam, G. K. Chesterton, Hilaire Belloc, Evelyn Waugh, Christopher Dawson, Ronald Knox, and Hugh Pope, he maintained a robust Catholic faith while keeping abreast of progressive trends.
Sheed's wife, Maisie Ward, who met him at a Catholic Evidence Guild lecture in London, was also a writer and speaker and collaborator in their publishing firm, Sheed & Ward.
Their son Wilfred Sheed was an essayist and novelist.