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HomeNewsArchivesRev. Msgr. Bernard L. Campbell Dies at 96

Rev. Msgr. Bernard L. Campbell Dies at 96

Jan. 26, 2009 – Bernard Leonard Campbell was born in the small City of Bedford, Province of Quebec, Canada, on Oct. 29, 1913. He was the fifth of seven children of Sylvanie Campbell and Elisabeth Duval. He was baptized in the Church of St. Damien of Bedford. He attended French Catholic School there until his father decided to immigrate to Vermont and become a dairy farmer. He was almost 10 years old and had to learn to speak English while attending school. His mother always spoke French at home.
The dairy farm had a minimum of 40 cows that needed to be fed and milked twice daily. While Bernard attended high school in St. Albans, Vt., he helped with the milking and then walked several miles to the school in all types of weather.
In the mid 1930's, he decided to become a Brother of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate. He lived in Essex, NY and Ligonier, Indiana for a few years. He then left the Order upon learning that his father was unable to get the help needed on the farm. Msgr. Campbell's nieces, Lucille and Carmen, report:
"We children went to the farm for a week or two during the summer while we were living in Canada and again after we moved to New Hampshire in September 1939. It was usually during the busy haying season and yet, he gave us lots of attention. He always loved nature and had large vegetable and flower gardens. He showed us his collection of butterflies, which were displayed under a tall glass dome. We enjoyed seeing his collection of birds' nests with several different eggs and learned to identify which bird the eggs belonged to. We were young and kept our distance from his beehives, but we surely enjoyed the honey. We were fascinated to see him handle the bees without being stung and to learn how he collected the honey. We were in awe! It was always a nature learning vacation for us. Bernard was very patient with us in the fields, lifted us onto the hay wagon for a ride to the barn, he even tied a rope on the rafters of the barn for us to jump into the hay (like Tarzan). What fun for us.
"On the farm Bernard has two beautiful collie dogs. They were well trained to bring in the cows for milking. The purchase of an electric milking machine and a truck were of great help.
"Bernard played the harmonica for us and we were amazed that he also could play both the piano and the organ. We had many hours of singing and dancing to his music. He also played the organ at St. Anne's Church in Milton, Vermont.
"When his parents arrived at retirement age, they all settled in Manchester, New Hampshire. Bernard obtained work at a clothing manufacturing plant as supervisor of shipping and then took college accounting courses.
"He later took dancing lessons and joined a group of Scottish dancers. It was a social group and traveled often on weekends to meet with other groups from New York, Toronto, Montreal, etc. That is when he met John and Isa Wilson. He later joined John's interior decorating business. Bernard always enjoyed working with his hands and became an excellent upholsterer."
After his parents died, Bernard Campbell moved to St. Croix. He and his partner, John Wilson, started an interior decorating business, House & Garden, doing business from their home in Sion Farm.
Bernard worshipped at Holy Cross Catholic Church in Christiansted until 1972 when he discovered the parish of St. Ann, Barrenspot. He decided to worship there since it was closer to his residence. Within a few years, he was actively involved in the parish serving as an usher and assisting Sr. Marcellina de Clercq, ICM in the sacristy. When the Diaconate Program was announced in 1981, Bernard became a candidate and on June 24, 1984, he was ordained a Deacon. Two years later, his business partner, John Wilson wanted to relocate to Canada with his wife Isa, and so they closed the business, sold the house and Bernard moved into the new rectory on Barrenspot Hill with Fr. Mike Kosak.
Deacon Campbell assisted in the sacristy, looked after the bookstore and took care of the rectory kitchen. He was a gourmet cook. When newly installed Msgr Kosak was transferred to St. Thomas in 1989, Deacon Campbell accompanied him to the cathedral and God did something very special. Deacon Campbell had always wanted to become a priest. However, with his humble background he never thought he was worthy. Bishop O'Malley thought otherwise. On a journey to Rome, immediately after Hurricane Hugo, he petitioned the Holy See for special permission to ordain Deacon Campbell a Catholic priest. On Dec. 30, 1989, Fr. Bernard Campbell received the sacrament of Holy Orders at Sts. Peter and Paul Cathedral at the ripe old age of 76.
Fr. Campbell assisted at the Cathedral and Holy Family Church from 1989-95. He returned with Msgr. Kosak to St. Ann's in 1995 and continued to minister in word and sacrament until 2003 when he asked for retirement. However, another surprise was awaiting Fr. Campbell. Bishop Murry petitioned Rome and he was made a Prelate of Honor with the title monsignor. Just another way the Lord and his Church could honor this holy and humble priest: "Well done good and faithful subject."
Until his transfer to the Seaview Nursing Home on St. Thomas on April 15, 2007, Msgr. Campbell could be seen every day on the rectory porch reading his bible, petting his dogs, Jojo and Skyler, and enjoying the musical chatter of the parakeets. He always had a good appetite and would look forward to lunch and dinner, sometimes in a restaurant, as well as a drive to Ha'penny Beach or Point Udall.
Msgr. Bernard Leonard Campbell was called home on Jan. 23, 2009. He had a full life. He will be remembered throughout the ages, as his 'resting place' will be a permanent fixture in the small cemetery at St. Ann's Church on Barrenspot Hill.
Stop, visit, say a prayer. Perhaps, God will have a surprise for you. We can be very sure that this humble servant of God will intercede for the people whom he adopted as his family many years ago and whom he served faithfully until his death at the age of 95.
Rest in peace and glory, Bernard, "for the wise shall shine brightly like the splendor of the firmament and those who lead the many to justice shall be like the stars forever." (Dn 12:3)
A viewing of Msgr. Campbell will take place at 5:30 p.m., on Thursday, Jan. 29, at Sts. Peter and Paul Cathedral, St. Thomas. It will be followed by a wake service with vespers at 6:30 p.m.
A second viewing will take place at 9:30 a.m. and a funeral Mass will be celebrated at 11 a.m., on Saturday, Jan. 31, at St. Ann Church, Barrenspot, St. Croix, V.I.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to Catholic Charities of the V.I., P.O. Box 10736, St. Thomas, V.I. 00801-0736.

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Jan. 26, 2009 - Bernard Leonard Campbell was born in the small City of Bedford, Province of Quebec, Canada, on Oct. 29, 1913. He was the fifth of seven children of Sylvanie Campbell and Elisabeth Duval. He was baptized in the Church of St. Damien of Bedford. He attended French Catholic School there until his father decided to immigrate to Vermont and become a dairy farmer. He was almost 10 years old and had to learn to speak English while attending school. His mother always spoke French at home.
The dairy farm had a minimum of 40 cows that needed to be fed and milked twice daily. While Bernard attended high school in St. Albans, Vt., he helped with the milking and then walked several miles to the school in all types of weather.
In the mid 1930's, he decided to become a Brother of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate. He lived in Essex, NY and Ligonier, Indiana for a few years. He then left the Order upon learning that his father was unable to get the help needed on the farm. Msgr. Campbell's nieces, Lucille and Carmen, report:
"We children went to the farm for a week or two during the summer while we were living in Canada and again after we moved to New Hampshire in September 1939. It was usually during the busy haying season and yet, he gave us lots of attention. He always loved nature and had large vegetable and flower gardens. He showed us his collection of butterflies, which were displayed under a tall glass dome. We enjoyed seeing his collection of birds' nests with several different eggs and learned to identify which bird the eggs belonged to. We were young and kept our distance from his beehives, but we surely enjoyed the honey. We were fascinated to see him handle the bees without being stung and to learn how he collected the honey. We were in awe! It was always a nature learning vacation for us. Bernard was very patient with us in the fields, lifted us onto the hay wagon for a ride to the barn, he even tied a rope on the rafters of the barn for us to jump into the hay (like Tarzan). What fun for us.
"On the farm Bernard has two beautiful collie dogs. They were well trained to bring in the cows for milking. The purchase of an electric milking machine and a truck were of great help.
"Bernard played the harmonica for us and we were amazed that he also could play both the piano and the organ. We had many hours of singing and dancing to his music. He also played the organ at St. Anne's Church in Milton, Vermont.
"When his parents arrived at retirement age, they all settled in Manchester, New Hampshire. Bernard obtained work at a clothing manufacturing plant as supervisor of shipping and then took college accounting courses.
"He later took dancing lessons and joined a group of Scottish dancers. It was a social group and traveled often on weekends to meet with other groups from New York, Toronto, Montreal, etc. That is when he met John and Isa Wilson. He later joined John's interior decorating business. Bernard always enjoyed working with his hands and became an excellent upholsterer."
After his parents died, Bernard Campbell moved to St. Croix. He and his partner, John Wilson, started an interior decorating business, House & Garden, doing business from their home in Sion Farm.
Bernard worshipped at Holy Cross Catholic Church in Christiansted until 1972 when he discovered the parish of St. Ann, Barrenspot. He decided to worship there since it was closer to his residence. Within a few years, he was actively involved in the parish serving as an usher and assisting Sr. Marcellina de Clercq, ICM in the sacristy. When the Diaconate Program was announced in 1981, Bernard became a candidate and on June 24, 1984, he was ordained a Deacon. Two years later, his business partner, John Wilson wanted to relocate to Canada with his wife Isa, and so they closed the business, sold the house and Bernard moved into the new rectory on Barrenspot Hill with Fr. Mike Kosak.
Deacon Campbell assisted in the sacristy, looked after the bookstore and took care of the rectory kitchen. He was a gourmet cook. When newly installed Msgr Kosak was transferred to St. Thomas in 1989, Deacon Campbell accompanied him to the cathedral and God did something very special. Deacon Campbell had always wanted to become a priest. However, with his humble background he never thought he was worthy. Bishop O'Malley thought otherwise. On a journey to Rome, immediately after Hurricane Hugo, he petitioned the Holy See for special permission to ordain Deacon Campbell a Catholic priest. On Dec. 30, 1989, Fr. Bernard Campbell received the sacrament of Holy Orders at Sts. Peter and Paul Cathedral at the ripe old age of 76.
Fr. Campbell assisted at the Cathedral and Holy Family Church from 1989-95. He returned with Msgr. Kosak to St. Ann's in 1995 and continued to minister in word and sacrament until 2003 when he asked for retirement. However, another surprise was awaiting Fr. Campbell. Bishop Murry petitioned Rome and he was made a Prelate of Honor with the title monsignor. Just another way the Lord and his Church could honor this holy and humble priest: "Well done good and faithful subject."
Until his transfer to the Seaview Nursing Home on St. Thomas on April 15, 2007, Msgr. Campbell could be seen every day on the rectory porch reading his bible, petting his dogs, Jojo and Skyler, and enjoying the musical chatter of the parakeets. He always had a good appetite and would look forward to lunch and dinner, sometimes in a restaurant, as well as a drive to Ha'penny Beach or Point Udall.
Msgr. Bernard Leonard Campbell was called home on Jan. 23, 2009. He had a full life. He will be remembered throughout the ages, as his 'resting place' will be a permanent fixture in the small cemetery at St. Ann's Church on Barrenspot Hill.
Stop, visit, say a prayer. Perhaps, God will have a surprise for you. We can be very sure that this humble servant of God will intercede for the people whom he adopted as his family many years ago and whom he served faithfully until his death at the age of 95.
Rest in peace and glory, Bernard, "for the wise shall shine brightly like the splendor of the firmament and those who lead the many to justice shall be like the stars forever." (Dn 12:3)
A viewing of Msgr. Campbell will take place at 5:30 p.m., on Thursday, Jan. 29, at Sts. Peter and Paul Cathedral, St. Thomas. It will be followed by a wake service with vespers at 6:30 p.m.
A second viewing will take place at 9:30 a.m. and a funeral Mass will be celebrated at 11 a.m., on Saturday, Jan. 31, at St. Ann Church, Barrenspot, St. Croix, V.I.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to Catholic Charities of the V.I., P.O. Box 10736, St. Thomas, V.I. 00801-0736.