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The Missing Kennedy: Rosemary Kennedy and the Secret Bonds of Four Women
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Published:
Bancroft Press 2015
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Description

Rosemary (Rosie) Kennedy was born in 1918, the first daughter of a wealthy Bostonian couple who later would become known as the patriarch and matriarch of America's most famous and celebrated family. Elizabeth Koehler was born in 1957, the first and only child of a struggling Wisconsin farm family. What, besides their religion, did these two very different Catholic women have in common? One person really: Stella Koehler, a charismatic woman of the cloth who became Sister Paulus Koehler after taking her vows with the Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis of Assisi. Sister Paulus was Elizabeth's Wisconsin aunt. For thirty-five years—indeed much of her adult life—Sister Paulus was Rosie Kennedy's caregiver. And a caregiver, tragically, had become necessary after Rosie, a slow learner prone to emotional outbursts, underwent one of America's first lobotomies—an operation Joseph Kennedy was assured would normalize Rosie's life. It did not. Rosie's condition became decidedly worse. After the procedure, Joe Kennedy sent Rosie to rural Wisconsin and Saint Coletta, a Catholic-run home for the mentally disabled. For the next two decades, she never saw her siblings, her parents, or any other relative, the doctors having issued stern instructions that even the occasional family visit would be emotionally disruptive to Rosie. Following Joseph Kennedy's stroke in 1961, the Kennedy family, led by mother Rose and sister Eunice Kennedy Shriver, resumed face to face contact with Rosie. It was also about then that a young Elizabeth Koehler began paying visits to Rosie. In this insightful, poignant, and important memoir, based in part on Sister Paulus' private notes and augmented by nearly one-hundred never-before-seen photos, Elizabeth Koehler-Pentacoff recalls the many happy and memorable times spent with the "missing Kennedy."

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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
09/01/2015
Language:
English
ISBN:
9781610881784
ASIN:
B014LPAPE0
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Citations
APA Citation (style guide)

Elizabeth Koehler-Pentacoff. (2015). The Missing Kennedy: Rosemary Kennedy and the Secret Bonds of Four Women. Bancroft Press.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Elizabeth Koehler-Pentacoff. 2015. The Missing Kennedy: Rosemary Kennedy and the Secret Bonds of Four Women. Bancroft Press.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Elizabeth Koehler-Pentacoff, The Missing Kennedy: Rosemary Kennedy and the Secret Bonds of Four Women. Bancroft Press, 2015.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Elizabeth Koehler-Pentacoff. The Missing Kennedy: Rosemary Kennedy and the Secret Bonds of Four Women. Bancroft Press, 2015.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2022. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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Date Updated:
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        Elizabeth Koehler-Pentacoff was born and grew up in rural Wisconsin, but left the Midwest for college in California. She has written seven books for children and two for adults, including The ABCs of Writing for Children, a Writer's Digest Book Club Selection. She's also written hundreds of articles for magazines and newspapers such as Columbia, The San Francisco Chronicle, and Parents Magazine. She's married and lives with her husband in northern California.

      • name: Elizabeth Koehler-Pentacoff
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title
The Missing Kennedy
fullDescription

Rosemary (Rosie) Kennedy was born in 1918, the first daughter of a wealthy Bostonian couple who later would become known as the patriarch and matriarch of America's most famous and celebrated family. Elizabeth Koehler was born in 1957, the first and only child of a struggling Wisconsin farm family. What, besides their religion, did these two very different Catholic women have in common? One person really: Stella Koehler, a charismatic woman of the cloth who became Sister Paulus Koehler after taking her vows with the Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis of Assisi. Sister Paulus was Elizabeth's Wisconsin aunt. For thirty-five years—indeed much of her adult life—Sister Paulus was Rosie Kennedy's caregiver. And a caregiver, tragically, had become necessary after Rosie, a slow learner prone to emotional outbursts, underwent one of America's first lobotomies—an operation Joseph Kennedy was assured would normalize Rosie's life. It did not. Rosie's condition became decidedly worse. After the procedure, Joe Kennedy sent Rosie to rural Wisconsin and Saint Coletta, a Catholic-run home for the mentally disabled. For the next two decades, she never saw her siblings, her parents, or any other relative, the doctors having issued stern instructions that even the occasional family visit would be emotionally disruptive to Rosie. Following Joseph Kennedy's stroke in 1961, the Kennedy family, led by mother Rose and sister Eunice Kennedy Shriver, resumed face to face contact with Rosie. It was also about then that a young Elizabeth Koehler began paying visits to Rosie. In this insightful, poignant, and important memoir, based in part on Sister Paulus' private notes and augmented by nearly one-hundred never-before-seen photos, Elizabeth Koehler-Pentacoff recalls the many happy and memorable times spent with the "missing Kennedy."

reviews
      • premium: False
      • source: Anthony Shriver
      • content: The Missing Kennedy is a truly inspiring story. It captures my Aunt Rosie's spirit so well. I especially love how it intertwines the stories about Rosie and the author's Aunt Stella. And it provides some great glimpses into the author's experiences with both of them.
      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        June 15, 2015
        Historical facts and family stories about the hidden life of Rosemary Kennedy (1918-2005). Using research, family stories, and her own interactions with her subject, Koehler-Pentacoff (The ABCs of Writing for Children, 2003, etc.) examines the life of the third child of Joseph and Rose Kennedy. Unlike her two older brothers, Rosie was a bit slow to develop. She was diagnosed as mentally disabled at the age of 7, but her parents rejected the idea of placing her in an institution and enlisted the entire family in helping raise her. With extra kindness, love, and help, they believed she could function in the world. But as Rosie grew older and more beautiful, she also became more rambunctious, sneaking out at night to meet men and have sex and throwing terrible tantrums when she was forced to stop. "Because of their high profile in politics and society," the author writes, "the Kennedys couldn't risk the shame of sexual disease or an out-of-wedlock pregnancy." In 1941, "unbeknownst to his wife and family," Joseph made the decision to have his daughter undergo a prefrontal lobotomy, which was supposed to "relieve her of the rages she suffered but also render her happy and content." Unfortunately, the surgery left Rosie far worse than she had been. Joseph told the family she was being placed in a home run by nuns, and she was sent to live in Wisconsin, where her personal caretaker was the author's aunt, Sister Paulus, who became a lifelong friend. With average prose, Koehler-Pentacoff flip-flops from one family to another, making the narrative a bit difficult to follow, but she does reveal an untold chapter in the Kennedy saga. She also delves into the different families' histories of mental illness and shows how knowledge of Rosie's disability led to the founding of the Special Olympics by Eunice Kennedy. A middling memoir that provides a few interesting glimpses into one member of the Kennedy clan who was almost lost to her family.

        COPYRIGHT(2015) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        October 1, 2015

        Koehler-Pentacoff (Jackson and Bud's Bumpy Ride) offers a personal perspective of the life of Rosemary Kennedy (1918-2005), the intellectually disabled sister of President John F. Kennedy. Provided is a succinct overview of Rosemary's difficult childhood and the effects of an experimental medical procedure she received as a young adult. However, the narrative centers on the treatment she received at a Catholic nursing facility from Sister Paulus Koehler, the author's aunt, who cared for Rosemary during much of her adult life. Using her aunt's private notes, Koehler-Pentacoff relays the dignified and specialized therapy Rosemary was afforded. Also recounted is how, in the early 1960s, after years of virtually no family contact, the Kennedys reconnected with Rosemary. The author chronicles the numerous trips Sister Paulus made with Rosemary to visit her extended family, ascribing how the clan's devotion to Rosemary in her later years was a catalyst in their activism for the disabled--including the creation of the Special Olympics. VERDICT While Kate Clifford Larson's Rosemary (reviewed below) is more in-depth on its subject's early years, this poignant look at the life of a lesser-known yet remarkable Kennedy, with its dozens of never-before-published photos, is sure to resonate with enthusiasts of this influential family.--Mary Jennings, Camano Island Lib., WA

        Copyright 2015 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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Rosemary (Rosie) Kennedy was born in 1918, the first daughter of a wealthy Bostonian couple who later would become known as the patriarch and matriarch of America's most famous and celebrated family. Elizabeth Koehler was born in 1957, the first and only child of a struggling Wisconsin farm family. What, besides their religion, did these two very different Catholic women have in common? One person really: Stella Koehler, a charismatic woman of the cloth who became Sister Paulus Koehler after taking her vows with the Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis of Assisi. Sister Paulus was Elizabeth's Wisconsin aunt. For thirty-five years—indeed much of her adult life—Sister Paulus was Rosie Kennedy's caregiver. And a caregiver, tragically, had become necessary after Rosie, a slow learner prone to emotional outbursts, underwent one of America's first lobotomies—an operation Joseph Kennedy was assured would normalize Rosie's life. It did not.

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