U.S. Ambassador to Malta Doug Kmiec has said his life will be haunted “forever” by the car crash in which caused the deaths of his friend Sr. Mary Campbell and his confessor Msgr. John Sheridan. Writing in a Maltese newspaper, he praised the lives of the deceased and thanked those who had prayed for the accident’s victims.
“Thank you, Malta, for your prayers and for your many warm messages of concern and caring. In this very moment, your thoughts are sustaining me against the agonizing physical pain of multiple surgeries and procedures,” he wrote in The Times of Malta on Sept. 12.
“Many of you know that before coming to Malta, it had been my special blessing to be together often with Mgr Sheridan and Sr. Mary. Before that horrible accident a week or so ago now, it was as before as we shared the special joy of being back together for the first time in many months,” he commented.
He remembered the 74-year-old Sr. Mary and the work of her fellow Sisters of St. Louis, who have committed themselves to living God’s love, especially for the poor and the marginalized. Kmiec recounted how she had been born in Co. Mayo, Ireland and had help instruct the children of southern California for half a century.
Despite her semi-retirement, she enjoyed teaching catechism and coordinated visits by people like Kmiec who introduced her classes to Thomas More, C.S. Lewis or Dorothy Day.
Kmiec explained that Sr. Mary would wear a plain button down blue sweater at morning Mass and keep an eye out for any misbehaving children whose deeds were “easily reformed by the discomfort of bringing a frown to Mary’s naturally happy countenance.”
Discussing the accident, he noted the “awful silence” immediately after the crash, which was “especially piercing” for him because the steering wheel had penetrated his side and prevented him from “extending a comforting hand” to Sr. Mary.
However, he commented, “my dear, sweet friend was already gone. Sister Mary Campbell, SSL, requiescat in pace.”
Writing before the 94-year-old Msgr. Sheridan succumbed to his injuries on Sept. 17, Kmiec praised the life of the pastor emeritus of Our Lady of Malibu.
“(H)is influence is global in every universal aspect of the Church,” Kmiec wrote in the Times of Malta.
Noting the conflicts and the “troubling uses of faith” surrounding the ninth anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Ambassador Kmiec said Msgr. Sheridan’s life of pursuing peace among men and women of all faith traditions has “special poignancy.”
Kmiec thanked those who had been praying for him and for Msg. Sheridan.
“I shall be forever grateful,” he wrote.