|July 11, 2016 • VOL. 54, NO. 13 • Oakland, CA|
Catholic Book Store Month
Author brings Rosemary Kennedy out of the shadows
The subtitle is telling: "Rosemary Kennedy and the secret bonds of four women."
To write the book, Koehler-Pentacoff drew not only on her personal experiences and her aunt's letters, but interviewed Anthony Shriver and Maria Shriver, and did research at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library in Boston.
"It was a lot more emotional than I thought it would be," Koehler-Pentacoff said. "What an amazing journey it was for me — and healing."
It was healing in that some of the Koehler family secrets, long buried, came to light.
"I had to become Rosie," she said. "I had to live through her tragedies and her happiness. It was gut-wrenching."
"I was very blessed to have an absolutely wonderful aunt who was so generous with everyone," said Koehler-Pentacoff, who lives in the East Bay. "She was just an inspiration. Rosie was an inspiration."
The book also shines a spotlight on the good that came from the relationship between the two.
"Sister Paulus was an ordinary, everyday farm girl who grew up to make such a difference in people's lives," she said.
The author provides some insight into Joseph P. Kennedy's decision to have his daughter treated with a lobotomy, which was written up in popular magazines of the time. "As a young girl, I was angry with Rose and Joe," said Koehler-Pentacoff.
Sister Paulus died in 1996. Rosemary Kennedy died in 2005, and is interred with her parents in Massachusetts.
"I'm a strong believer in the afterlife," said Koehler-Pentacoff, who was raised in the Catholic Church. "I feel very confident that she's happy, whole and with her family."
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