Sister Mary Campbell, 75, was traveling with Co. Longford native Monsignor John Sheridan and U.S. Ambassador to Malta Doug Kmiec when the crash occurred.
Campbell, originally from the Kiltimagh area of Co. Mayo, died instantly in the accident in Malibu on Wednesday, August 25. She was a member of the Sisters of St. Louis and was based in Our Lady of Malibu.
Sheridan, 95, remains in critical but stable condition.
Kmiec, 58, was driving the car when the accident occurred on Mulholland Drive. He is expected to make a full recovery.
Sheen and his actor son, Emilio Estevez, were one of the first cars on the scene. Sheen is a member of Our Lady of Malibu Catholic Church and knew Campbell well.
Campbell, Sheridan and Kmiec were returning from a Mass and luncheon commemorating to 60th anniversary of the St. Louis order in the U.S. Campbell had just returned to the U.S. a few days earlier after spending a month with her family in Ireland.
She was a member of the Sisters of St. Louis for 52 years. Her religious community was celebrating its patron's feast day -- St. Louis of France -- on the day that she was killed.
The California Highway Patrol said the accident remains under investigation, and that the “dashboard control adjustment” may be a factor in the collision.
Kmiec was driving westbound on Mulholland when his 2009 Hyundai Accent veered off the road and crashed into a drainage ditch.
Kmiec and Sheridan, the pastor emeritus of Our Lady of Malibu, were airlifted to UCLA Medical Center.
Sheridan had life saving surgery to stop internal bleeding and is now in stable condition.
Speaking to Fox News, Sheen described Campbell as “one of the dearest people that you could ever know.” He described her loss as “heartbreaking.”
Campbell joined the Sister of St. Louis in 1959 and came to the U.S. in 1961. She taught at several Los Angeles Archdiocese elementary schools.
Her tenure at Our Lady of Mercy began in 1983. She also served as principal.
Retired from teaching in 2003, Campbell devoted her life to taking care of Sheridan in recent years, said Sister Brid Long, the regional director of the Sisters of St. Louis and a friend and colleague of Campbell since 1966.
“Wherever he went, she went,” Long said.
A parishioner who knew Campbell, Katie Row, wrote on the Malibu Times website that the parish and town lost a “gentle soul who guided generations” of children into “wholesome” adulthood.
“She (Campbell) could be seen of an evening accompanying the monsignor on his daily constitutional. Her death leaves a hole in the community and, I'm sure, a vast vacuum in the monsignor's heart. God bless her memory as we were blessed by her life."
Sheen will speak at Campbell’s funeral mass at the Church of the Holy Family in Kiltimagh on Thursday, September 9. She will be buried at Kilkinure Cemetery with her parents and a sister, Kathleen Campbell, who predeceased her.
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