Website of the Boston Irish Reporter

All Contents © Copyright 2007, Boston Neighborhood News, Inc.

Eunice Kennedy Shriver Hailed at JFK Library
As 'Inspirational Agent for Positive Change'

By Ed Forry
BIR Staff

An overflow crowd filled the Stephen Smith room at the John F. Kennedy Library & Museum on Nov. 16 for a tribute event to Eunice Kennedy Shriver. Mrs. Shriver was joined for the evening by four of her five children -- sons Bobby, Anthony, and Mark and daughter Maria Shriver -- and Eunice siblings Jean Kennedy Smith and Senator Ted Kennedy, and Ted's wife Vicki. The event was hosted by Paul Kirk, the Library Foundation's chairman of the board, and featured a lively 45-minute panel discussion with the four Shriver children. Facilitator for the event was Harvard Law School professor Mary Ann Glendon, whom President Bush recently nominated to serve as US Ambassador to the Vatican

"We are privileged to listen to a conversation as if we were sitting around the Shriver dinner table, hearing her children's perspective of the contributions Eunice Shriver continues to make to public life, to the lives of millions across the globe, and to their own personal lives," Kirk said. "It is said that the purpose of life is a life of purpose. For all the world, and I mean that literally, that lesson is best embodied in the inspirational examples of Sargent and Eunice Shriver. And for those who were blessed to have Eunice and Sarge as parents, it is not surprising what our special guests and their brother, Tim, are doing with their still young lives.

If you are ever asked what is a one-word definition of an "inspirational agent for positive change", the answer is: 'It's a Shriver,' and this generation is just getting started.

"Some months ago, we had a memorable event here in which we paid tribute to one of my favorite human beings, Sargent Shriver. Sarge's own career speaks volumes about the importance of unselfish service to a life of purpose. For most mortals, the vision, the genius, the tenacity, the love that Eunice contributed to the global success of the Special Olympics would be nothing less than the achievement of an 'Impossible Dream,' but it is only part of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver story. So, as we did on Sarge's evening, I thought it might be instructive to put Eunice's incredible career of service in a more complete perspective by taking a brief walk down biography lane. Here's how that story unfolds:

"She graduated Manhattanville College, and was employed in the Special War Problems Division of the Department of State, helping former POWs to reorient to civilian life; she was a social worker at the Penitentiary for Women, Alderson, W. Va., and at the House of the Good Shepherd and at the Chicago Youth Shelter of the Chicago Juvenile Court; she has been executive vice president, and later president of Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. Foundation, with a mission to identify the causes and develop prevention of intellectual disabilities, and to educate society in erasing discrimination and providing hope to those so afflicted.

"She inspired the establishment of President Kennedy's Committee on Mental Retardation as well as the National Institute for Child Health and Human Development, and was a driving force for the creation of the Kennedy Institute of Medical Ethics at Georgetown and a similar institute at Harvard University. She also is founder of Community of Caring, a program to help prevent teen pregnancy, drug and alcohol abuse presently serving over 1,200 elementary, middle and high schools in 20 states and DC, and also the founder of Camp Shriver, a day camp enabling intellectually disabled children to develop capabilities in sports and physical activities at the Shriver home in Maryland.

Camp Shriver was the precursor of the Special Olympics, which, of course, is recognized as a global force for a better humanity, providing esteem and hope, achievement and opportunity to more than 2,250,000 children and adults competing in 26 sports in more than 150 countries around the world.

The purpose of life is a life of purpose. I am certain you will feel the powerful compassion which Eunice Shriver continues to bring to her life of purpose … This Library and its Foundation are officially dedicated to the memory of a president of the United States whose legacy continues to inspire the citizens of this country and others around the globe. But, the power of the story that is told here is as much from the story and example of members of his family who, by their service, have done or continue to do the same.

When I think of Eunice's story, I can hear President Kennedy's voice and his words as if he were describing perfectly the life and work of his sister: 'The energy, the faith, the devotion we bring to this endeavor will light our country and all who serve it-- and the glow from that fire can truly light the world.' "

Mrs. Shriver Hospitalized; Condition is Called 'Fair'

Mrs. Shriver, who is 86, was admitted to Massachusetts General Hospital two days after the Library event, said a spokesman for her daughter, Maria Shriver. "She has had many health challenges in the past several months, and in every case she has bounced back," Daniel Zingale said. "I hope and expect it will be the same in this case." He would not elaborate on her status, saying, "the family's privacy must be respected."

However, a spokeswoman for Massachusetts General Hospital said Shriver was in fair condition, according to The Associated Press.

People News-
George K. Regan Jr
. of Regan Communications was recently presented with an honorary award from the Arc of Greater Boston. At their Nov. 17 Red & White Ball, the Arc, which advocates and serves people with disabilities, presented Regan with its first Rose Pessin Memorial Award, dedicated to the woman who led Arc for 37 years. Pessin passed away earlier this year, and Arc decided to dedicate a yearly award to a "dedicated citizen." It had previously been known as the Man of the Year Award. Regan founded his public relations firm in 1984 and has over the years generously served charitable causes, particularly for children. Regan also served ten years as press secretary and Man Friday for former Boston Mayor Kevin H. White, who was in attendance at the Arc event. Also in attendance were Mayor Thomas Menino, former Mayor Raymond L. Flynn, and Congressmen Stephen Lynch and William Delahunt.

Irish young women out there can now begin preparing for the 2008 New England Rose competition. Next year's Rose will be named at the Gala Rose Ball at the Doubletree Hotel Boston/Westborough on Sat. April 26, and then have a chance to compete against the rest of the world in the International Rose held in Tralee every August. To enter a young lady must be between the ages of 18 and 27 on or before the first day of the international competition. The other stipulations are that the contestants must either have been born in Ireland or have ancestors who were born there, with proof of same; must never have been married; must be a resident of New England; and must never have represented any center as a Rose at the International Festival in Tralee. Anyone interested has until Feb. 29 to enter, and should contact the Boston New England Rose Center and John Griffin at 617-957-1782 or by emailing The winner in the New England competition gets complimentary airfare to Tralee, as well as photography and wardrobe.

Jim Poston, the British consul general in New England from 1995 to 1999, died at the age of 62 in October. Poston was well known for his influential work in Boston and New England at the time of the Good Friday Agreement, making sure his home government understood the voice of the people across the world in the important discussions. He was able to bring unionist David Trimble to Boston to meet with members of the Irish diaspora here, and her later was given an honorary degree from the University of Ulster.

Bostonians may also remember Poston as the voice of the grieving British Government after the death of Princess Diana in 1997. He personally greeted hundreds of mourners who arrived at the Consulate office looking to sign a book of condolences.

Before his time in Boston, Poston also served the British government in South Africa, Brussels, Israel, Nigeria, and the Turks and Caicos Islands. While in South Africa he was present for the release of Nelson Mandela. He retired from the position of governor at the Turks and Caicos Islands in 2005. Poston leaves behind his wife, Romey, two daughters, and a son.

The Harvard Club of Ireland has recently named Dr. Sean M. Rowland as its newest president. Rowland comes from serving as president of Ireland's Hibernia College, an online accredited university he helped to start. Rowland is best known here for his work at Boston College's Irish Institute where he served as executive director and started such degree programs as the Domestic Policy, Leadership and Management Development, and the Program on International Governance. He holds degrees from St. Patrick's in Dublin, Boston College, and Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. He is pictured above on the left with Thomas C. Foley, U.S. Ambassador to Ireland (center) and Richard Burke, former Vice President of the EU Commission.

President George W. Bush will meet with the new leadership team of Northern Ireland this month. Dr. Ian Paisley, First Minister of Northern Ireland, and Martin McGuinness, Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland, are scheduled to appear with Bush at the White House on December 7, in a historic meeting. As the first pair to run Northern Ireland under the groundbreaking agreements signed this past year, Paisley and McGuinness will make their first trip to the country that has played a large hand in peace in the North during the past decade.

Baroness May Blood was recently in Boston for a lunch with members of the Irish American Partnership. Blood is a native of Belfast and was a mill worker for almost 40 years, where she became influential in the union politics. Blood has been influential in the Good Friday Agreement, and in 1999 started the Women's Coalition Party, a cross-community party working for inclusion, human rights, and equality in Northern Ireland. The British MP was hosted for lunch at Amrein's in South Boston by Joe Leary, head of theIrish American Partnership.

In a unique event, the John F. Kennedy Library hosted a spousal conversation recently between Richard Goodwin and Doris Kearns Goodwin. A speechwriter for JFK, Lyndon B. Johnson, and Sen. Robert Kennedy, Goodwin has a fascinating history including work on LBJ's "Great America" speech and being on the stage with RFK the night of his assassination. Kearns Goodwin is one of the country's most-accomplished historians and a Pulitzer Prize winner who has written, among other things, about Lincoln, baseball, Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, and the administrations her husband worked for. This conversation was the first time the two had sat together on the public stage to talk about their life histories.

Back to Home Page

Three Honored by Missionary Society

The Missionary Society of St. James the Apostle recently cited three honorees for their charitable works for those in need. Joseph Corcoran, Joseph Milano, and Donald Rodman were recognized at the Society's 20th annual Cardinal Cushing Award Banquet at Boston College High School. Corcoran founded the Corcoran Jennison Companies, a pioneer of the mixed-income housing concept, in 1971. He also founded the American City Coalition, which is a nonprofit that plans and implements the revitalization of urban neighborhoods.  Milano is president and CEO of the Union Oyster House in Boston, and Rodman is president of Rodman Ford, Lincoln-Mercury, and the Rodman Health and Fitness Center, both located in Foxboro. Additionally, he founded Rodman Ride for Kids, which has raised millions for improving the lives of children, and he is affiliated with Catholic Charities of Boston. The St. James Society was founded 49 years ago by Cardinal Richard Cushing in response to Pope John XXIII's calling on priests and religious from North America to aid the faithful of South America. In its almost 50-year-long history, over 300 priests have served in the Andean countries. Currently there are about 40 priests serving through the society.