Feast of Sargent Shriver and Eunice Kennedy Shriver (January 19)   Leave a comment

Above:  Sargent Shriver Holding a Peace Corps Proclamation

Image Source = Library of Congress

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ROBERT SARGENT SHRIVER, JR. (NOVEMBER 9, 1915-JANUARY 18, 2011)

U.S. Statesman and Humanitarian

husband of

EUNICE MARY KENNEDY SHRIVER (SEPTEMBER 7, 1921-AUGUST 11, 2009)

Humanitarian

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Born in Westminster, Maryland, Sargent Shriver attended Yale University from 1934 to 1938 then Yale Law School from 1938 to 1941.  He opposed U.S. entry in World War II initially yet enlisted in the Navy out of patriotism.  He served mostly in the South Pacific and earned a Purple Heart at Guadalcanal.  Shriver returned to civilian life after the War and married Eunice Kennedy, sister of Senator John F. Kennedy, in 1953.  Shriver worked on his brother-in-law’s 1960 presidential campaign.  Then he became first Director of the Peace Corps (1961-1966), architect of the Great Society (as in the Job Corps and Head Start) under President Lyndon Baines Johnson.  Shriver went on to serve as Ambassador to France (1968-1970), Democratic nominee for Vice President (1972), and a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1976.  He and his wife, Eunice, founded the Special Olympics.  President Bill Clinton awarded Shriver the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1994.  This was a well-deserved honor.

Doctors diagnosed Shriver with Alzheimer’s Disease in 2003.  He died at Bethesda, Maryland on January 18, 2011, aged 95 years.

Shriver was a devout Roman Catholic.  His faith informed his views on everything from abortion (he opposed it) to anti-poverty programs (he supported them).  The simplistic labels “liberal” and “conservative” prove inadequate here, as they do much of the time.  The bottom line is this:  Sargent Shriver sought to love his neighbor as he loved himself.  He succeeded.  What else is there to say?

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Eunice Mary Kennedy learned from her mother that she should contribute to society.  Eunice, who graduated from Stanford University with a degree in sociology in 1943, served in the Special War Problems Division, U.S. Department of State, then led a juvenile delinquency project for the U.S. Department of Justice.  In 1950-1951 she worked as a social worker at the women’s penitentiary in Alderson, West Virginia.  Then she left for Chicago, where she worked at the House of the Good Shepherd and for the municipal juvenile court.

Eunice, who married Sargent Shriver in 1953, began to lead the Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr., Foundation, devoted to preventing mental retardation and to helping the mentally retarded, four years later.  In 1962 she and her husband started a summer camp at their home in Maryland.  The summer camp evolved into the Special Olympics six years later.  For her great humanitarian work Eunice received many honors, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1984.

She died at Hyannis, Massachusetts, on August 11, 2009, aged 88 years.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 28, 2011 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF KAMAHAMEHA AND EMMA, KING AND QUEEN OF HAWAII

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O God, your Son came among us to serve and not to be served,

and to give his life for the life of the world.

Lead us by his love to serve all those to whom the world offers no comfort and little help.

Through us give hope to the hopeless,

love to the unloved,

peace to the troubled,

and rest to the weary,

through Jesus Christ our Savior and Lord,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Hosea 2:18-23

Psalm 94:1-15

Romans 12:9-21

Luke 6:20-36

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 60

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Revised on November 20, 2016

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