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Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis: Letters to Irish priest spanning 14 years at auction

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14 years of letters that Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis wrote to an Irish priest, who she considered a friend, are up for auction and expected to fetch as much as $1.6 million. These letters act as a hand-written Jacqueline Kennedy auto-biography, as her inner-most thoughts on life, love and marriage are shared with this Irish priest, according to NBC News on May 13.

These letters contain Jackie’s private thoughts on her husband, John F. Kennedy, from the time they were dating all the way until his death when he was gunned down in 1964. It was during the time of the President’s death that Jackie questioned God and God’s will in her letters to the priest.

AJC.com suggests that the letters give “a deeper perspective of what was going through Jackie’s mind before, during and after her husband’s presidency.” Along with the 33 letters, 21 lots of associated correspondence will also go up for auction. This includes the photographs she sent to the priest.

The letters are a window into the character of the man she married and who would go on to become the youngest President of the United States. Jackie truly loved “Jack,” as she wrote to the priest after his death that she would have much rather died than to lose Jack.

She wrote to Reverend Joseph Leonard from the time she was 21, when she met this man of God during a visit to Ireland in 1950. Jackie’s words were uninhibited and the tone was so different than the one she presented as the stoic woman seen in the media limelight.

After the President’s death, Jackie wrote to the priest, that the assassination has left her “bitter against God.” She also wrote that “God will have some explaining to do to me it I ever see him.” She continued with saying that “I have to think there is a God – or I have no hope of finding Jack again.”

She loved marriage, writing after her first year of marriage that she loved marriage more then than she did as a new bride. Jackie wrote to the Irish Priest in 1952 about being in love with “the son of the ambassador to England.” John F. Kennedy was a third-term congressman at that time and gaining popularity in leaps and bounds in the political arena.

She married Jack in 1953 and she wrote to the priest after giving birth to a stillborn baby girl that “so many good things that come out of this – how sadness shared brings married people closer together.” She once wrote about her husband the President:

“He’s like my father in a way — loves the chase and is bored with the conquest — and once married needs proof he’s still attractive, so flirts with other women and resents you. I saw how that nearly killed Mummy.”

The Irish priest died in 1964, so the letter’s stopped, but up until that point the very candid letters arrived from a woman that the priest met when she was just a young woman visiting Ireland.

These letters are of historic value and there are 33 in all. Sheppard’s Auction House in Ireland is in charge of the sale of these letters. The auction will take place in June. Excerpts of the letters have been published by the Irish Times News.

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