Susan Campbell

Susan Campbell

April 6, 2015

Susan Campbell wants people to know what a treasure they have in Mount St. Francis Retreat Centre.

Campbell, the newly-appointed director of the Cochrane retreat house, had been to Mount St. Francis before and experienced its spiritual richness.

"It's a sacred place," she said, "and I want people to know that it is here and it is available so they can get in touch with their inner spirit."

Campbell experienced the openness of the spirit there herself and returned to "check it out" when negotiating whether to take the job.

She also knows the power of prayer and wants to bring these retreats to Mount St. Francis.

At 57, she said she believes she has much to give, but says her sister laughed when she discovered Campbell would be the youngest member of the retreat team.

An Edmontonian, Campbell began her ministry at St. Francis of Assisi Parish, served as executive assistant to the president of Newman Theological College and most recently was director of the Diocesan Pastoral Centre for the Prince George Diocese.

She has a solid educational background, including a master of theology from Newman College, studies at the University of St. Paul in Ottawa and a master of religious studies from the Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium.

Campbell is also a team member of Returning to the Spirit, a reconciliation process between aboriginal people and non-aboriginals working together to heal the legacy of the Indian residential schools.

In fact, she was leading a Return to the Spirit retreat before taking up her new duties at Cochrane.

"She knows our faith culture and brings a younger view to our administration here," said former retreat director Franciscan Father Kevin Lynch.

Asked what she brings to her new duties, Campbell paused before saying, "I'm going to bring a lot of experience working within the Church, with 30 years of pastoral ministry."


Her work with the Returning to Spirit team also let her "know how important connections are within our society, within our Church, how to reconcile that."

She also brings her own strong spiritual work.

"It's been a real journey for me, walking the path of faithfulness, walking the path of connection."

Her voice filled with smiles during the telephone interview as she said she also offers "a simplicity and joy. I so appreciate the gift of the Spirit, the gift of the Franciscan spirit."