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Teach your children well...

Taken at the 2009 Apostolate to the Handicapped Christmas Dinner in the Monroe High School Gymnasium
Taken at the 2009 Apostolate to the Handicapped Christmas Dinner in the Monroe High School Gymnasium
Lori VanNatta

Whether you are a mom who works outside the home or an at-home mom, lets face the truth, we are all Working Moms. That belief is one reason, this Working Mom is not wild about this particular Examiner title. But, that is really beside the point and not really relevant to this particular Working Mom's series.

What is relevant is that one of the toughest jobs for any mom (or dad) is teaching your children the valuable life lessons they will need to be happy, well-adjusted and contributing members of society.

There are so many lessons and most folks queried would list at least one or two different from those listed by others.

“Tell the truth,” “be friendly,” “say thank you,” “be a patriot” and on and on and on.

One lesson that this Working Mom likes to think combines so many of the important things is: “Do for others. Be selfless in giving the best of yourself, your time and your talents to those who may not be as blessed as you.”

Raising Elizabeth and Zac in Monroe, Wisconsin, Working Mom has been blessed to have the late Monsignor Tom Campion to model this very important lesson.

Monsignor Campion, or T.C. as we affectionately called him, taught four decades of Monroe youth that they were at their best when they were doing for those that many consider to be the least among us---the disabled, handicapped, elderly, sick and dying.

Raised between the nearby communities of Janesville and Milton, Campion was born in 1931, ordained a Catholic Priest in 1957 and in 1967 asked by Bishop Cletus O'Donnell to head the Diocese of Madison's new Apostolate to the Handicapped. Then in 1971, Campion and The Apostolate to the Handicapped relocated to Monroe. Campion was escalated to Monsignor in 2000. And, on November 12, 2010 Campion died of natural causes in his home across from Monroe Clinic where he also served as Chaplain.

To explain the impact T.C. had on Monroe and the area, one may need only hear about his visitation and funeral. Monroe's St. Victor Catholic Church was not deemed big enough for either, hence they were moved to the Monroe High School Gymnasium. They were held off until Thanksgiving weekend to allow former Monroe residents now living elsewhere to return for them.

Hundreds of mourners filed past Campion's coffin, which sat center court in the gymnasium where Campion's beloved Cheesemakers tipped off basketball games before T.C.'s watchful eyes for all those years. Like a President lying in state in the Capitol, Campion's coffin was banked with massive floral arrangements and at the foot sat a small, decorative altar that a neighbor had made for Campion to “play Priest” at nearly seventy-five years ago.

The gym was filled with pictures and mementos of a lifetime for one who had served so many and taught all around him how to serve. Tributes from Popes, Governors, Legislators, local athletes, local service organizations, area teens, “his” handicapped and small children sat and hung next to each other speaking volumes about the man who lived among us and taught us for nearly forty years.

A bishop and thirty priests con-celebrated Campion's funeral mass in the High School Gymnasium with hundreds in attendance and over two dozen of High School youth serving as acolytes.

Campion's story, though, is much more than the story of his passing. It is the story of his living and the lessons he taught the living. The lessons shared by T.C. are especially meaningful during the holiday season. Check back in the next day or two as Working Mom shares some of those lessons.


  • Jill Annis 4 years ago

    My parents went to the mass and concert on Sat. in Monroe. I saw Zac's name on the program:)
    Hope all is well with you Lori.

  • Lori 4 years ago

    Thanks for reading, Jill!
    Zac (and, I think many of us) are missing TC. He taught us so much and now we are left to carry on his mission.
    Take care, Jill!

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