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Abbot Edward Campbell, first abbot of Hingham abbey


Abbot Edward Campbell, OSB Pilot file photo

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Abbot Edward Campbell, OSB, the first abbot of Hingham’s Glastonbury Abbey and also the first abbot in the archdiocese of Boston died Feb. 28 in Weymouth.

A Philadelphia native, Charles Edward Campbell, was one of six children and he studied at the Benedictine Abbey in Benet Lake, Wisconsin which was the mother abbey for the foundation in Hingham. He was professed in 1952 and ordained to the priesthood on May 26, 1956.

Only 31 when he was named the prior of the young monastery at Hingham, Father Campbell set about the development of Benedictine life and he became a well-known figure among Catholics of the southeastern section of the archdiocese. He was a man a charm and warmth and had a large contingent of friends.

He was elected the first abbot at Glastonbury when the monastery was raised to abbey status in January 1973. For the first time in history of the archdiocese the Solemn Blessing of an Abbot was celebrated by Cardinal Humberto Medeiros. The great growth of the abbey and the newly elected abbot’s popularity required the solemn June 4, 1973 Mass to be held at Resurrection Church, Hingham to accommodate the large number of guests -- visiting bishops, other abbots, family and friends of the new abbot and the abbey.

Abbot Edward served as Glastonbury’s “Father Abbot” until his retirement on Aug. 1,1985. His health had been declining and the demands of the abbey for a younger abbot contributed to his decision to retire as abbot.

Although retired as abbot, he was not retired from priestly ministry. He found a warm home in Florida and served first at St. Jude Parish in Tequesta, Fla. And then later lived in residence as chaplain at the McKeen Towers a residential retirement community in West Palm Beach.

He returned to the Hingham abbey and remained there under the care of the monks until he required nursing assistance and lived until his death at Colonial Nursing Home in Weymouth.

Abbot Edward’s funeral Mass was celebrated at the Abbey Church in Hingham on March 6. Following the Mass he was buried in the Abbey Cemetery on the grounds of the Hingham abbey.

In addition to his sons and brothers at Glastonbury, and his many friends in Massachusetts and Florida and beyond, Abbot Edward is survived by his siblings: Francis and Therese, both of Philadelphia; and Mary of Fla.

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