Robert F. Kennedy, Jr has shared the eulogy he penned for his beloved niece Saoirse Kennedy Hill
In the wake of Saoirse Kennedy Hill's tragic death, her devoted uncle Robert F. Kennedy, Jr has published the eulogy he read at her funeral.
Just a few days after Saoirse’s August 5 funeral, Robert F. Kennedy shared ‘My Eulogy to Saoirse’ online.
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We’ve lost our daughter and our children, their sister. Saoirse was fierce, both in her love for her family and yearning for justice. A fearless adventurer, she inspired curiosity and daring in her friends. But her greatest gift was to find humor in everything and to give us all the gift of her laughter - and our own. The gaping hole that she leaves in our family is a wound too large to ever heal. 1) Saoirse at our Cape House. 2) Leaping from jetty with cousin Michaela. 3) Cheryl moves Saoirse into Boston College dorm. 4) On stage with Kenny Chesney at Foxborough with Courtney, Noah, and Kenny in mid leap. 5) with her cousins on Glide. 6) relaxing with cousin Noah on boom. 7) New Years Day On summit of Ajax with cousins. 8) A luminous, beautiful soul. 9) with Cheryl at Cape. 10) Swinging on halyard into Nantucket Sound.
In it, he notes that Saoirse Roisin, born to Irish man Paul Hill and Robert F. Kennedy’s daughter Courtney, spent some years living in Ireland as a child before returning to the US with her parents.
“When my younger kids first met her on Cape Cod, she was an adorable, flaxen-haired Irish sprite, with sparkling eyes, peeling laughter, and a thick brogue,” Kennedy, Jr wrote.
Despite living abroad from the ages of 4-8, Saoirse quickly integrated herself into the massive Kennedy, Shriver, and Lawford clan of cousins.
“She put out a bright light,” writes Kennedy, Jr. “Everybody loved her. She made people feel good. Anyone who is tempted to feel badly that you didn’t do enough for Seersh, put that thought away. She felt loved by everyone in this church. It was all authentic. She was very, very, very easy to love.”
Kennedy, Jr adds: “By the way, she would have loved this funeral. She would have made it a party. She would love that the entire family came together and talked about her for five days. She would have been proud of Courtney’s eloquent and moving eulogy at the wake. She would have most enjoyed the aspect of Mark Bailey [RFK Jr’s Jewish brother-in-law] somehow getting corralled into coaxing a crowded household of Irish Catholic Kennedys into the cramped living room and leading them in the Lord’s Prayer.”
Kennedy likened his precious niece to Saint Francis of Assissi: “Saint Francis came from Assisi’s most prominent family. His father was an affluent cloth merchant. Francis had wealth and a reputation as a gifted poet, musician, and a war hero. Working in his father’s shop, he gave an expensive bolt of fabric to a beggar whose plight had moved him. His own father sued Francis and the town gathered for the public trial with the bishop acting as the judge. Francis stripped himself naked in front of the townspeople and presented his own expensive clothing to his father as repayment for the missing fabric.”
“By the act of mortification and vulnerability, he embraced his own humanity. As the townfolk who once admired Francis, jeered, mocked, and laughed at him, Francis declared that he would henceforth be a “fool for God.” That’s how his mission began. Soon he was a saint.”
“Saoirse had an analogous epiphany. At age 18, she published an eloquent and intensely personal description of her struggle with depression in the Deerfield School newspaper. The piece is so brutally honest that it effectively stripped her naked. What eighteen-year-old would choose to reveal those raw and embarrassing thoughts to her peers, especially in one of the most competitive adolescent environments in this country?”
Kennedy, Jr went on to note his niece’s dedication to social causes large and small not only across the world but around the country. “She considered herself a citizen of Ireland and America, but most of all, the borderless, boundless oceans,” he wrote.
In conclusion, Kennedy, Jr poignantly states: “If anybody ever wondered whether God loves the Kennedys the proof is that he gave us Saoirse, this brilliant beam of light and laughter. Now, it’s time for us to cease being sad at her passing and to practice being grateful that we had her for 22 amazing years.”