Eunice Kennedy Shriver was the very definition of 'life.' She spoke quickly and moved even faster to make happen what her mind saw the human heart needed. She took her privileges, her sufferings, her education, and her own natural abilities and turned each of them into good for everyone else. Eunice saw the world with a peripheral vision wide as the globe. She saw into the human soul and realized that they we were all the same in our needs, our hopes, and our desire for love and human development-- whatever might limit our capacities to express them. And most of all, she swept us all up into the vision of a better, more tender, more human world.
Eunice was a model for women before feminism was even a word, let alone a strength. She had antennae for the most forgotten-the handicapped, the challenged and the prisoner--and brought all them into the warmth of her heart and the goals of her life. She lived life lively and she stayed involved in its deepest aspirations until the very end, making it a better place to be with every step she took.
Eunice was the kind of bright star one would expect to dim the sky with her passing. Instead, she went through life lighting other stars along the way, pulling us all into the wake of her passing through. She dispelled darkness and impossibility and despair wherever she went and left all of us a bit brighter, a bit more steeped in it ourselves because she was here.
The only tribute worthy of Eunice Kennedy Shriver is that we go on lighting up the world in her name, in her memory, with her same driving intent.
It was a privilege to know the woman for so many years, to have been in her presence.
S. Joan Chittister, OSB