Sister Kennedy: The Untold Stories Of Her Sisters

Rose Marie Kennedy, often called Rosemary, was the eldest daughter in the Kennedy family, born to Joseph P. Kennedy Sr. and Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy.

She was the sister of President John F. Kennedy as well as Senators Robert F. and Ted Kennedy.

During her early adulthood, Rosemary Kennedy grappled with seizures and severe mood swings.

To address these challenges, her father arranged for a prefrontal lobotomy when she was 23 in 1941.

This procedure left her permanently incapacitated and robbed her of coherent speech.

Following the lobotomy, Rosemary spent the majority of her life under care at St. Coletta, an institution in Jefferson, Wisconsin.

Her condition and whereabouts were shrouded in secrecy for many years.

Although initially separated from her siblings and extended family after the lobotomy, Rosemary did have occasional visits with them later in life.


An image of Sister Kennedy
Sister Kennedy is a reference that could be used in various contexts, often denoting a Kennedy family member who played a significant role in the family’s history, such as Eunice Kennedy Shriver, known for her advocacy for people with intellectual disabilities. This description might encompass a Kennedy sister’s impactful contributions, highlighting her advocacy, influence within the family, or her role in specific societal or political spheres./PHOTO COURTESY: MD IMAGES

Sister Kennedy’s Family and Early Life

Rose Marie Kennedy entered the world in Brookline, Massachusetts, as the third child and first daughter of Joseph P. Kennedy Sr. and Rose Fitzgerald.

Given her mother’s name, she was affectionately known as Rosemary or Rosie.

Her birth faced a challenge when the doctor was delayed due to the Spanish influenza outbreak.

The nurse instructed Rose Kennedy to delay the birth, causing Rosemary to endure two hours in the birth canal, resulting in oxygen deprivation.

As Rosemary grew, her parents observed she wasn’t meeting typical developmental milestones.

Some accounts suggested she had an intellectual disability, although there have been questions about the full extent of her condition.

Her parents kept this information guarded, with only close relatives aware of Rosemary’s challenges.

Despite receiving tutoring, Rosemary struggled with academics. At 11, she attended a boarding school for individuals with intellectual disabilities.

Later, at 16, she went to the Sacred Heart Convent in Rhode Island, receiving specialized education separately from other students.

Her abilities in reading, writing, and arithmetic were assessed at a fourth-grade level.

Despite her difficulties, she found joy in social activities, attending events like the Pope’s coronation and visiting the White House.

There were reports of her aspirations to become a kindergarten teacher or pursue social welfare work, even harboring a desire to perform on stage.

In 1938, Rosemary was presented as a debutante at Buckingham Palace, an event her mother treated as a success despite a stumble during the curtsy.

Rose Kennedy never acknowledged the mishap, and the royal couple maintained their composure throughout.

Throughout her life, Rosemary’s experiences were marked by both her challenges and her moments of joy, hidden behind a curtain of secrecy that shrouded her true circumstances from the public eye.

Sister Kennedy Lobotomy

Rosemary Kennedy, at 22, faced growing irritability and violent outbursts.

She had convulsions and would hurt others during these fits.

After troubles at camps and schools, she was sent to a convent in D.C. where she snuck out at night. Concerns arose that she might be involved with others or at risk of certain health issues.

Her dad, without telling her mom, agreed to a lobotomy when she was 23, thinking it would help her mood swings.

Doctors described the procedure as cutting into her brain while she was mildly sedated. It left her unable to speak or walk properly, with the mental capacity of a toddler.

The family hid the true nature of her condition, believing it might harm their reputation, but the surgery caused severe harm, reducing her abilities significantly.

Why didn’t Rose Kennedy attend Kathleen’s funeral?

Kathleen “Kick” Kennedy caused quite a stir in her devout Catholic family by marrying Billy Hartington, a Protestant future duke.

Her parents, especially her mother Rose, were deeply upset. Rose warned Kick that marrying outside the faith meant damnation.

The only sibling who supported her was her eldest brother, Joe Jr., who attended her civil wedding.

Kick wrote to her mother, sharing details of her happy day, but tragedy struck when her husband died in World War II, just four months later.

Heartbroken, Kick later became involved with Earl Peter Wentworth Fitzwilliam, also a Protestant.

When he pledged to leave his wife for her, she faced her parents’ fury.

Rose threatened to sever ties not just with Kick, but with her siblings too, leaving her in turmoil.

Who is buried in JFK’s grave?

President John F. Kennedy and two infants rest in Lot 45, Section 30 at Arlington National Cemetery.

Their permanent graves, marked by simple gray tablets, were set up about 20 feet from the temporary site used in 1963.

The area, measuring 18 by 30 feet, matches other distinguished lots in Arlington.

It features Cape Cod granite stones, planted with fescue and clover to mirror a Massachusetts field.

Accessible pathways were built for visitors, including a greenstone walkway for handicapped access.

An Eternal Flame, lit by Mrs. Kennedy during the funeral, sits atop a granite stone at the President’s grave.

Created by the Institute of Gas Technology, the flame is fueled by natural gas mixed for its color and shape.

The site, about 3.2 acres, honors JFK and was approved by the Secretary of Defense.

The Kennedy family covered the grave area costs, while the government-funded public access improvements.

The design was by John Carl Warnecke and built by Aberthaw Construction Company under Army supervision.

Why was Bobby Kennedy buried at night?

Senator Kennedy’s nighttime burial was indeed uncommon, attributed to unforeseen events that caused delays in the planned graveside service.

Initially scheduled for earlier in the evening, unexpected circumstances forced last-minute changes, resulting in the unique and unplanned candlelight ceremony for his final resting place.

Who is the only US president buried in NYC?

Grant’s Tomb, known as the General Grant National Memorial, serves as the resting place for Ulysses S. Grant, the 18th President of the United States, and his wife, Julia.

This grand mausoleum with its classical dome stands in the Morningside Heights area of Upper Manhattan, New York City, New York, USA.

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