The Missing Kennedy

The Missing Kennedy

Rosemary Kennedy and the Secret Bonds of Four Women

Book - 2015
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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. 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 and poignant 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".
Publisher: Baltimore, MD :, Bancroft Press,, [2015]
Copyright Date: ©2015
ISBN: 9781610881746
Branch Call Number: 616.8588 Kenne -K
Characteristics: xi, 260 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm


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Aug 14, 2016

This is the story of Rosemary Kennedy, joe and Rose Kennedy's oldest daughter who underwent a lobotomy as treatment to eliminate the effects of mental illness. Unfortunately, Rosemary became severely mentally ill following an unsuccessful intervention. The book focuses mostly on her relationship with Sister Paulus (Koehler) who was her main caregiver for thirty-five years. The author also tries to draw parallels between people of her own family dealing with mental illness and Rosemary. Although providing an interesting insight into Rosemary's life at Saint Coletta's in Wisconsin, the book does not flow well.

Aug 07, 2016

Very disappointing attempt on the part of the author to tie her own family history to that of the Kennedy's by way of Rosemary Kennedy. Poor, uneven writing and too many extraneous details made for a tedious read.

Apr 05, 2016

Another sorry story in the Kennedy family saga. It needed to be told even if not very well. . Joseph Kennedy sr had a lot to answer for.

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