Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Kennedy Curse-No Such Thing

The Kennedy family has had its share of misfortunes, there is no question about that. This very large Catholic, political family of great wealth and prestige in America has suffered tremendous losses and tragedies. The most recent loss of Edward Kennedy this week, who was a surrogate father to so many of his nieces and nephews as well as a father to his own children, will be greatly missed by so many in his family. The statement issued by his family referred to him as, "the irreplaceable center of our family and joyous light in our lives...." 
As reported in the New York Times, "In recent years, friends say, Mr. Kennedy had come to lean heavily on his Roman Catholic faith. In eulogizing his mother, Rose Kennedy in 1995, he spoke of the comfort of religious beliefs. 'She sustained us in the saddest times by her faith in God, which was the greatest gift she gave us,' Mr. Kennedy said. He attended Mass every day in the year after his mother's death and continued to attend regularly, often a few times a week."
Edward Kennedy was "the only one of the Kennedy boys who had a semi-knowledge that his end was near." According to a family friend, "There were a lot of joyous moments in the end.....a lot of frankness, a lot of hugging, a lot of emotion."
The Kennedy mystique or the Kennedy myth has captured the imagination of people all over the world. As a child I was fascinated by the presidency of John F. Kennedy and the Camelot days. I was fascinated by Jacqueline Kennedy, her clothes and her stature. I followed the lives of John F. Kennedy Jr. and Caroline and was greatly saddened when John Jr. and his beautiful wife Carolyn and her sister were killed in a plane crash in 1999. 
I've heard over the years the myth or urban legend of the so called Kennedy curse. I don't believe it. On blogs circulating on the internet are myths about this "curse" and stories about its origin. I couldn't believe what I read. Some people actually believe that rabbi's (of all people) put a curse on the Kennedy family. How ridiculous! For all the trials, misfortunes and failures of the Kennedy clan there have been great successes too. The ones I'm most familiar with are: the Special Olympics started by Eunice Kennedy Shiver that has so positively impacted disabled people, the vision of the Kennedy brothers and the years of public service of Edward Kennedy. And also Robert Kennedy Jr. and his environmental work, most especially for Riverkeeper, an organization which is restoring the Hudson River. 
Rose Kennedy, the family matriarch was a devout Catholic. She was a daily communicant and a faith-filled woman. She prayed for her family. She endured the tragedies she had to face with faith, courage and the inner strength that faith gives. She buried four of her nine children before she died at the age of 104. Though she suffered, she knew about redemptive suffering, united to Jesus. She believed in eternal life, and a soul that survives bodily death. 
The Kennedy's have remained faithful to their Catholic faith through it all, through the most horrific circumstances and for that they should be praised. I believe they will continue to do good things for the country and for good causes and I hope this ridiculous myth of the Kennedy "curse," will die out.  The younger generations of Kennedy's will prosper and do great things as they move forward, with faith, courage and belief in God and God's mercy.