Shriver counted Dorothy Day among her friends

DAY-BOOKAmong the many friends Eunice Kennedy Shriver made throughout her illustrious life was Dorothy Day, co-founder of the Catholic Worker Movement.

Daughter Maria Shriver said in her eulogy during her mother’s funeral Aug. 14 that Shriver considered Day a personal hero, along with Mary, Mother Teresa and her own mother, Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy, and her  sister Rosemary.

 
 Day referred to Shriver in her diaries several times in the 1970s. Day’s references to the member of the Kennedy clan mention how Shriver would call just to chat, invite her to Hyannisport for a break or to discuss deeper concerns.

“She (Shriver) is reading my books,” Day wrote April 15, 1976. “Bedside books, she calls them. She is not happy. ‘Do you believe in heaven and hell?’ she asked me. ‘Why?’”

In an entry dated Oct. 30, 1979, Day told about another call from Shriver in which she said her brother, Sen. Edward Kennedy, would announce a run for the White House in nine days.

Several years earlier, July 14, 1975, Day described another call from Shriver in which she said her husband, Sargent, was planning to seek the presidency. Shriver asked Day to sign on as a supporter. Day was a bit flabbergasted. “I am an anarchist,” she wrote. “But ‘pray for him.’ I like her. He is a daily communicant.”

The diary excerpts can be found in “The Duty of Delight: The Diaries of Dorothy Day” edited by Robert Ellsberg and published in 2008 by Marquette University Press.

2 Responses

  1. The relationship between Dorothy Day and Eunice Shriver does not surprise me – two great compassionate women who walked the walk. I am so grateful for my journeying with Dorothy Day and friends through my play/DVD, “Fool for Christ: The Story of Dorothy Day.”

    I remember seeing Eunice and daughter, Maria on a talk show and the love they had for each other was so evident and joyful. God Bless.

  2. What a deep consolation this story is for me. How wonderful, no “delightful” it is that this friendship between Dorothy Day and Eunice Shriver brought consolation to each of them. Clearly, this friendship speaks volumes about Dorothy Day, who lived most of her life in the
    rougher parts of town; being an anarchist, but who was not to uppity to let Eunice reach out to her. It might be nice and grace full if this kind of friendship could happen between Hillary Clinton and say Arundhati Roy, or Barack Obama and Eduardo Galieano. The Military Industrial Complex might have to work harder to find US new enemies.

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