Eunice Kennedy Shriver: An Extraordinary Architect of Change
  • Architects of Change

08/10/09 | The Women's Conference | 15 Comments


Eunice Kennedy Shriver with her grandchildren at The 2007 Minerva Awards
Eunice Kennedy Shriver with her grandchildren at The 2007 Minerva Awards

Please visit for a look back at Eunice Kennedy Shriver's lifelong dedication to the Special Olympics.

Statement from The Shriver Family

It's hard for us to believe: the amazing Eunice Kennedy Shriver went home to God this morning at 2 a.m. 
She was the light of our lives, a mother, wife, grandmother, sister and aunt who taught us by example and with passion what it means to live a faith-driven life of love and service to others.  For each of us, she often seemed to stop time itself -- to run another Special Olympics games, to visit us in our homes, to attend to her own mother, her sisters and brothers, and to sail, tell stories, and laugh and serve her friends.  How did she do it all?
Inspired by her love of God, her devotion to her family, and her relentless belief in the dignity and worth of every human life, she worked without ceasing -- searching, pushing, demanding, hoping for change.  She was a living prayer, a living advocate, a living center of power.  She set out to change the world and to change us, and she did that and more.  She founded the movement that became Special Olympics, the largest movement for acceptance and inclusion for people with intellectual disabilities in the history of the world.  Her work transformed the lives of hundreds of millions of people across the globe, and they in turn are her living legacy.
We have always been honored to share our mother with people of good will the world over who believe, as she did, that there is no limit to the human spirit.  At this time of loss, we feel overwhelmed by the gifts of prayer and support poured out to us from so many who loved her.  We are together in our belief that she is now in heaven, rejoicing with her family, enjoying the fruits of her faith, and still urging us onward to the challenges ahead.  Her love will inspire us to faith and service always.
She was forever devoted to the Blessed Mother.  May she be welcomed now by Mary to the joy and love of life everlasting, in the certain truth that her love and spirit will live forever.


Eunice Kennedy Shriver

The 2007 Women’s Conference Minerva Awards

Part 1

Part 2


Learn more about why we honored Eunice Kennedy Shriver with a Minerva Award in 2007.

Eunice Kennedy Shriver demonstrated passionate commitment and dedication as the honorary chairperson of Special Olympics International, which she founded in 1968. Through her vision, courage and tireless work, today more than three million athletes are training for the Special Olympics in all 50 states and 181 countries. Learn more about Mrs. Shriver's commitment to the Special Olympics at


Eunice Kennedy Shriver, Founder of Special Olympics:





















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  • What a wonderful role model Mrs. Shriver was for women all over the world. She lives on through the wonderful legacy she left for her family and all the rest of us too! My prayers are with your family! Sincerely, Janet Taylor Velasco

    Posted by Janet Velasco, 11 August 2009.

  • "A mother is she who can take the place of all others, but whose place no one else can take." -Cardinal Mermillod.

    In honor of a beautiful woman who saw the greatness and beauty of many special souls. I am the mother of one of those special souls, my son....."Bo" Hilliard. I have seen his smile light up with greatness and beauty so many, many times.......but probably none sweeter than rounding the track at a Special Olympics meet. I remember one particular event in which the first runners of the race were so much faster than the runners at the back of the race.......that they awarded two separate sets of medals for the race!!!!! The crowd was standing on their feet at the display of courage and BELIEF!!!!!! That is the word that Ms. Eunice Kennedy Shriver instilled in so many beautiful individuals.....BELIEF!!!!!

    BELIEF in that moment that they will all cross the finish line with dignity and GRACE and the smile of a well deserved victory!!!!

    Today, I stand to applaud the beautiful victory of a woman who has now crossed her finish line!!!!!! Oh the arms of the angels embracing her and her arrival!!!!!!

    With my deepest respect and gratitude!

    Lori Hilliard

    Posted by Lori Hilliard, 11 August 2009.

  • Perhaps they are not the stars, but rather openings in Heaven where the love of our lost ones pours through and shines down upon us to let us know they are happy. ~Author Unknown

    My condolences on your loss.

    Posted by dmorales, 11 August 2009.

  • What a great tribute to an incredible woman! Thoughts and prayers to those she touched with her life of service.

    Posted by businessboomer, 11 August 2009.

  • Thank you for the beautiful tribute to Mrs. Shriver. She was truly one of the most remarkable women of her generation. Her impact on the lives of the disabled will surely continue its positive ripple effect forever. The mettle she exhibited as she endured far too many family tragedies, is a lesson to us all -- through service to others one can find the strength to not only move on through anything, but through such dedication turn life's hardships into inspiration and joy.

    To the Shriver and Kennedy families, I offer this quote to offer solace during your mourning:

    "Grief, like the ocean, comes in waves, only to recede and come again, yet with it comes healing. Memories wash ashore and are bathed by the golden sun. Grab hold of those meories and let them fill the emptiness."
    - Author Unknown

    With great respect and gratitude,

    Liberty Bradford Conboy

    Posted by Yogamomma, 11 August 2009.