Remembering a Remarkable Woman

A woman of character and compassion died the other day.

There will be no public outpourings of grief, no news stories about her life, or any well-known celebrities or politicians mourning her passing.

There should be.

Sister Roberta Campbell, a member of the order of Sisters of Saint Joseph for close to seventy years, known to her family outside the convent as Margaret Mary, died at the age of eighty-seven.

While her name, and the many things she accomplished, may not be known outside of her family and those she touched, her impact on making this a better world is immeasurable.

She did it all out of her commitment to and a faith in her calling, because it was the right thing to do and for no other reason.

Margaret devoted her time to caring for those experiencing all the difficulties this life sometimes imposes.

She did it with compassion and understanding, never standing in judgment but rather offering her unmitigated support.

In this world of instant gratification, where a commitment that lasts more than the length of a Twitter blurb is considered abnormal, she devoted her entire adult life to something she firmly believed in no matter the demands or burdens.

It would serve this world well if there were more people willing to commit to a cause and stay with it despite the difficulties. People like Margaret Mary.

There are many stories about this woman, most of them known only to those involved in them.  I thought I would share just a few.

Margaret would often care for a trio of my young nephews, Randy, Justin, and Matthew.  She would take them to many places eight, nine, and ten year old boys so enjoyed.

She took them to nursing homes, wakes, visiting those confined in their homes.  I am sure she took them for ice cream as well, but I bet they remember the lessons learned about life more (although likely not at the time).

She had a knack for saying the right thing at precisely the right time.

When my sister Mary came home under hospice care, we took Margaret Mary and my mother to see her.

On the way, I had picked up some beer for my brother-in-law Kevin to have in the house as he, and their sons, cared for Mary.

Shortly after we arrived, my sister died.  We all were lost as to what to say or do.

Margaret, sitting on the front porch, reached into her vast well of experience and said, “I’ll have a beer.”

Within minutes those old enough had beers, the conversation livened with stories of my sister, and the process of grieving took over.

No one really knows what happens when you die, but it is the one common experience we all share.

Margaret embraced her faith in what was to come completely.

If there is such a thing as Pearly Gates and a Saint Peter, those gates joyfully opened the other day and welcomed home an amazing woman.

We were all privileged to know her.

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