VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Cheryl Tobin, a former master sergeant with the Army who used her military might to flag down the pope for a blessing, died in her sleep New Year’s Eve. She was 48.
Terminally ill with a rare form of cancer, Tobin went on a pilgrimage to Rome and Assisi in May thanks to the generosity, prayers and assistance of many people who wanted to help her fulfill her dream.
Despite the fatigue that came from radiation treatments, chemotherapy and surgery, Tobin was able to climb the Holy Stairs on her knees, climb to the top of St. Peter’s Basilica, and climb atop a plastic chair to wave hard and high above the crowds during Pope Francis’ general audience May 11.
Her enthusiasm caught the guards’ attention and they let her pass the barricades to meet the pope and receive his blessing and embrace.
“I started crying when I saw him. I was overwhelmed with emotion,” she told Catholic News Service back in May, right after her memorable meeting.
Jim Tobin, Cheryl’s husband, alerted friends and supporters late Dec. 31 that Cheryl had passed away that morning.
She had been sick, he said in a group email, but after he cleaned and comforted her and gave her pain medication, “I kissed her and she was able to kiss me back in return and she seemed comfortable and at ease.”
“I know she is watching us from above. She is now pain free and in a better place,” he wrote, thanking everyone for all their prayers and support.
The funeral was to be held in Clarksville, Tennessee, Jan. 6 followed by a vehicle procession to Kentucky Veterans Cemetery 30 miles away in Hopkinsville, Kentucky, where she also was to receive military honors.
In a time of crisis CatholicPhilly.com keeps the information flowing
During the current coronavirus crisis, you can help CatholicPhilly.com deliver the kind of news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live ― every day.
Budgets are tight at this time, and CatholicPhilly's is no different than those of most families. We make sure your donation in any amount will go a long way toward continuing our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community.
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103