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Vatican City (RNS) Pope Benedict XVI has prayed that Eunice Kennedy Shriver receive eternal reward for her service on behalf of the mentally and physically disabled, according to the Vatican.
Shriver, the sister of the late President John F. Kennedy and Sen. Robert Kennedy, as well as current Sen. Ted Kennedy, died Tuesday (Aug. 11) at age 88. Her family said she had been suffering from strokes.
The Catholic woman helped found the Special Olympics, organizing the first games in 1968, having been personally touched by the plight of the mentally disabled after her experiences with her sister Rosemary Kennedy.
“It is the Holy Father’s fervent prayer that the good Lord, who is never outdone in generosity, will grant this woman of ardent faith and generous public service the reward of her many labors,” read a letter from the Vatican to Shriver’s family, “particularly on behalf of those who are physically and mentally challenged.”
The letter, which was released to the Associated Press, was written by Archbishop Pietro Sambi, the Holy See’s ambassador to the United States, and sent on Monday after reports that Shriver was critically ill.
“His Holiness unites himself spiritually with each of you at this difficult time, holding close Eunice as she is called home to eternal life and trusting in the words of Sacred Scripture: What will separate us from the love of Christ?” the letter said.
By Paul Virgo
Copyright 2009 Religion News Service. All rights reserved. No part of this transmission may be distributed or reproduced without written permission.

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