The life of Rev. Fr. Andrew Campbell, a Ghanaian based Irish SVD priest who has, and keeps on leaving his footprint in the sands of time is one that inspires many on a smooth surface, but the untold story behind his remarkable feat is one that will leave his admirers in tears.
The Priest whose selfless service to humanity has caught the eyes of many within his immediate environment and the wider community has had his own share of life’s unending challenges.
In a new piece authored by Rev. Fr. Stephen Kofi Sakpaku dubbed “The Priest Fr Campbell a Missionary of Hope”, the piece recounts the 74 years journey of the SVD priest, shedding more light on his childhood days through to the present days with a deep look into some of the most challenging moments for the SVD Priest.
Best portrayed in the book as a man of all seasons, the book also reveals an interest-piquing point in his challenging days where financial burden struck him so hard, nearly causing his priesthood journey.
The life of this dedicated man whom many have come to admire was quite filled with numerous challenges coupled with many demands placed on him at a tender age while financial burden also drowned his aspirations.
A journey down to Fr. Campbell’s early education and family days penned down by Rev. Fr. Stephen Kofi Sakpaku reveals how the SVD Priest battled his way through to the top in what he describes a ‘miraculous turnaround”.
The Journey so far
Education and family challenges
He began his early education at the Sisters of Charity School, Dublin, in 1950 and continued with his primary education two years later at Haddington Road and De La Salle School, Dublin. At the age of thirteen, the young Andrew wanted to further his education by going to secondary school.
Unfortunately, due to financial constraints, he was unable to proceed immediately.
The fee he was required to pay at the time was Ten Pounds Sterling (£10) for the entire year. Financial challenges have prevented a lot of brilliant young people from pursuing an education in the past and continues to do so even today. 10 pounds, which is equivalent to Seventy Ghana Cedis (GHS70) and which can only purchase two notebooks in secondary school today almost prevented Fr. Campbell from pursuing his dream of a secondary education.
The call to Priesthood
His seminary journey was simply miraculous and amazing. When he felt called to the priesthood, this monster of money reared its ugly head again. He did not have the money to buy the things needed to begin his seminary formation. He worked as a shop attendant in a supermarket to earn some money to buy his clothing for the seminary.
The three black Cassocks
He managed to buy all his clothing with the exception of three black cassocks which cost 10 pounds. This was a huge sum of money for young Campbell to afford. Was this10 pounds going to be another hindrance to his seminary journey?
It was there that he recognized the invisible hand of God at work in his life. The prophecy of Isaiah (cf. Isaiah 41:10-13) manifested in his life. The Lord assures us that He will take care of our needs; ours is just to trust in Him. The Lord took care of Fr. Campbell’s needs as he was preparing to enter the seminary. One day as he was contemplating how to get the 10 pounds, the postmaster arrived at his doorstep with an envelope with his name boldly written on it.
He quickly opened it and lo and behold, the 10 pounds he needed had been sent to him and he did not know who sent the money. This indeed was the hand of God and it was a marvel in the eyes of Fr. Campbell. When the Lord miraculously provided the means for Fr. Campbell to buy his black cassocks, it was like a dream. His mouth was filled with laughter and on his lips were songs of thanksgiving because the Lord had done a great thing for him.
This unexpected gift of the exact amount of money he needed really gave him the assurance that God truly wanted him to become a priest. The Lord makes a way for us where there seems to be no way. The Lord provides for us when we think there is no provider. He was really touched by the miracle of the 10pounds. “I was indeed touched by God. I still treasure the letter which can be found in my bible to remind me of God’s great love” he said. To date, he does not know who sent him that money.
In the thick of these challenges life presented to Rev. Fr. Campbell, he held on to his aspirations and his faith in God to become a soul that could never be broken.
Source: Agnus-Dei Media