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Jean Ann (Cecilia) Campana, IHM

Sister Jean Ann Campana, IHM, 76, died Tuesday, Feb. 20, at her home, the IHM Senior Living Community.

Jean Ann Campana, daughter of Louis and Victoria (Dedo) Campana, was born June 8, 1947, in Flint, Michigan. She joined brother James and later welcomed sister Janet. The family belonged to St. Michael parish, where the children attended grade and high school. Within months of graduation, Jean Ann entered the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Monroe, in 1965 and received the religious name Sister M. Cecilia.

After graduating from Marygrove College, Sister taught religious education and directed musical worship at St. John in Fenton. Drawn to the people of the parish, she moved deeper into parish and pastoral ministry, ecumenical interests and as a social worker in rural ministry outreach. These works took her to St. Joseph (Orion), St. Vincent de Paul and St. Joseph Mercy Hospital (Pontiac) and Humbolt, Tennessee. She earned a Master of Arts degree in religious studies (University of Detroit-Mercy), which furthered her ministries. As expected of the young, energetic people-enthusiast, Sister Jean Ann moved to Florence, Alabama, to serve St. Joseph in pastoral ministry, Human Promotion and Adult and Campus education. There, she loved the people – over 400 families in the parish, and the landscape, often hiking and avid biking to nourish her soul.

It was in northern Alabama in 1988, on a bike trek that Sister Jean Ann was hit by a car whose driver was intoxicated and under suspension. She suffered a closed-head injury and severe internal injuries. Had it not been for her standard wearing of a cycling helmet, her fate would have been worse. After six weeks comatose, Jean Ann began the arduous journey of recovery and relearning. She spent months in a specialized head injury program at Rainbow Tree Center, Ypsilanti and Flower Hospital Rehabilitation (Toledo). She emerged as an example of tenacity and a spokesperson for those with similar injuries. Her injury became a new ministry, as she spoke about cycling safety and ways to support the injured, even writing a book, “TBI.”

If seeing is believing, Sister Jean Ann encouraged others as she returned to the ministry as a Therapeutic Recreation Aide, Activities Assistant and Nutritional Services Assistant at Healthwin Hospital and St. Joseph Medical Center, South Bend, Indiana and as a volunteer at Flower Hospital. In 1998 she made her residence at the IHM Motherhouse, volunteering as needed and participating in community life. Her faith, humor and gift for conversation made an indelible mark on staff and fellow sisters.

Sister Jean Ann is survived by her sister Janet Campana Friedman of Munich, Germany; brother James of Lansing; nieces Rebecca and Alina; nephew Allan; grand-nieces and nephews; and sisters in the community.

Read Sister Jean Ann’s Remembering here.