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Jackie Kennedy Pours Her Heart Out to an Old Irish Priest

Jackie Kennedy for 14 years confided in an old Irish priest after meeting him only once on a visit to Dublin.

Jacqueline KennedyShe poured out her grief and anger to Fr. Joseph Leonard after her husband, President John F. Kennedy, was assassinated. According to The Irish Times

“I am so bitter against God.

“I think God must have taken Jack to show the world how lost we would be without him — but that is a strange way of thinking to me.

“I have to think there is a God — or I have no hope of finding Jack again.”

Father Figure

Fr. Leonard had been friendly with Jackie’s step-uncle, W. S. Lewis, in the 1920s. Lewis recommended Jackie meet him on a trip to Ireland in 1950. She was a 21-year-old socialite. Fr. Leonard was a scholarly 73-year-old semi-retired priest.

Fr. Leonard met Jackie and her step-brother, Hugh Auchincloss, at the airport and escorted them around Ireland, according to Irish Central.

Jackie Kennedy and Fr. Joseph Leonard met only one other time –when she was First Lady, traveling with her husband to Ireland.

She corresponded with him until he died in Dublin in 1964 at the age of 87.

The letters – 33 of them — were discovered in an old safe at All Hallows College in Dublin, where Leonard had taught.

He became almost a father figure: “It’s so good in a way to write all this down and get it off your chest – because I never do really talk about it with anyone – but poor you has to read it!”

He sent her books and teasingly called her ‘girouette’ – a French expression for a fickle person.

She wrote to him in July 1952 to tell him she thought she’d fallen in love with John F. Kennedy, the New York Post reported.

“I think I’m in love with — and I think it would interest you — John Kennedy — he’s the son of the ambassador to England — the second son — the oldest was killed. He’s 35 and a congressman,” she wrote.

“Maybe it will end very happily — or maybe, since he’s this old and set in his ways and cares so desperately about his career, he just won’t want to give up that much time to extracurricular things like marrying.’’



  1. Jeanne F. Callinan

    July 28, 2014 at 6:25 pm

    Thank you. I’m hoping to see the JFK Museum this week. This is a good fun fact to take along.

  2. Thelma Barnes

    July 28, 2014 at 9:36 pm

    If they were mine, I would want them kept private. She was confiding in a priest. And, they became friends.

  3. DeVallon Bolles

    July 29, 2014 at 6:56 am

    The revealing of these letters is outrageous. Once again we learn the real priorities of the Church and its minions. Incidentally, by law, physical letters belong to the recipient, but the contents belong to the sender.

  4. Gail Cully

    July 29, 2014 at 5:28 pm

    Keep private for this timeless, classy,beautiful woman

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