Mentored Martin Sheen?
prolific career of Martin Sheen (Ramon Estevez) has
stretched from stage to screen to television. Most recently,
he has won critical acclaim for his role as President
Jeb Bartlett on NBC's television series, "The West
is active in the anti-nuclear campaign and is a national
spokesperson for Mentoring USA.
"When the student is ready the teacher will appear"
is an old cliché that was certainly fulfilled
in my life by three very different mentors who seemed
to materialize at the most opportune times when I was
young and most receptive. Although they could not have
been more diverse in personality and background, they
could not have been more alike at the core of their
character or the depth of their humanity.
[One mentor was] Rev. Alfred Drapp, assistant pastor
at Holy Trinity Parish and School in Dayton, Ohio.
Father Al arrived at Holy Trinity for his first parish
assignment when I was fourteen. He was an energetic
young man with an innate wisdom who believed our personal
relationships were reflective of our relationship to
God. It was not long before he was having a noticeable
effect on every family in the parish despite his lifelong
struggle with shyness, which endeared him to us all
the more. I served mass for him regularly, and he was
Even as a boy I dreamed of going to New York after high
school to pursue an acting career, but my father was
determined that I attend college. A deformed left shoulder
at birth made me, in my father's eyes, incapable of
earning a living as a laborer. Hence the necessity of
a higher education. This became the most contentious
issue between us for a number of years. Unfortunately,
I was never a good student, and when I flunked out of
high school in my senior year my father was disappointed
and angry. Father Al advised me to go to summer school
and graduate. He also suggested that to appease my father
I agree to take the entrance exams to the University
of Dayton. I did both.
Unknown to anyone, I purposely failed the exam, scoring
just 3 percent out of a possible 100. My father got
the message, but still would not bless my dream. Perhaps
he wanted to see some proof of my talent or determination.
Father Al stepped forward again and, careful not to
offend my father, he loaned me enough money, out of
his own pocket, to get started, and soon I was on my
way. Several months later, when I was settled in New
York building a life for myself in the theater, my father
very lovingly came around and became my biggest supporter.
Over the years my relationship with Father Al matured
and his friendship became invaluable. Although my journey
took me far away and at times I became lost, he was
always there like an anchor reminding me to continually
ask those two key little questions: Who are you? Why
are you here? As long as I can answer at least one of
them I always know where I'm going, and Father Al will
always remain with me.
from The Person Who Changed My Life: Prominent Americans
Recall Their Mentors.
Matilda Raffa Cuomo, Editor, with foreword by Sen. Hillary