Archbishop Donald W. Wuerl on Death of Eunice Kennedy Shriver

August 11, 2009

“Eunice Kennedy Shriver dedicated her life to serving the most vulnerable among us. She recognized the individual dignity and worth of each person and she called upon all of us to do the same. Her example and dedication are a legacy she leaves to all of us. In a particular way, we recall her deep commitment to individuals with developmental disabilities as well as her advocacy on behalf of the unborn.

“I had the privilege of working with her in the 1990s to develop what became a nationally-recognized religious education program for young people with disabilities. Her strong faith, which motivated her and guided her work, was evident and I cherish that time working with her and her commitment to assist children who had special needs grow stronger in their faith life.

“Here in the Archdiocese of Washington, we are particularly grateful for her active support of the Lt. Joseph P. Kennedy Institute, a program founded 50 years ago by the Archdiocese of Washington with the Kennedy Foundation and Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur to educate youth and adults with developmental disabilities. Mrs. Shriver was a very active supporter of the Kennedy Institute, even volunteering as a physical education instructor in the mid-1960s. She also was instrumental in obtaining the funding to establish a model inclusion program for students at Our Lady of Mercy School in Potomac.

“My prayers are with Sargent Shriver, the children and grandchildren, and with the entire Kennedy family at this difficult time. We pray that they may find comfort and strength in Christ our Lord at this difficult time. May God grant Eunice Kennedy Shriver eternal rest.”

In 1982, Eunice Kennedy Shriver received the Archdiocese of Washington Catholic Youth Organization National Figure Award. She also was honored by the John Carroll Society in 1996 as a recipient of the John Carroll Medal. Mrs. Shriver was an occasional contributor to the Catholic Standard newspaper, writing about the dignity of human life, including that of the unborn.

Read more about Eunice Kennedy Shriver and her involvement with the Kennedy Institute, a program of the Archdiocese of Washington blog.

Susan Gibbs
Office of Communications
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