To the rest of the world, she was Ena "Mimi" Bernard, Costa Rica-born nanny to the Kennedys.
But to the 11 children of Bobby and Ethel Kennedy, she was the calm in a world of joy and woe. She fed them when they were hungry, comforted them when they were sick, loved them like they were her own.
And for all of the 44 years she worked for them and beyond, the Kennedy clan loved her back.
Ms. Bernard, of Sunrise, died July 23. She was 105.
On Thursday, Ethel Kennedy, 85, and eight of her children — Joe, Bobby, Kathleen, Kerry, Christopher, Maxwell, Douglas and Rory — came to Ms. Bernard's funeral in Sunrise to bid a final farewell.
In a way, Ms. Bernard helped shape who they are today, Bobby Kennedy Jr. said during a tearful service at All Saints Catholic Church that drew more than 100 of Ms. Bernard's family and friends.
"She left her mark on all of us in so many ways," said Bobby, who stopped to kiss Ms. Bernard's casket before delivering her eulogy. "She had all the virtues of a saint. She was a role model for all of us."
Through her, the Kennedy children learned the values of patience and tolerance, courage and compassion, humor and gratitude, he said.
Kerry, Douglas and Maxwell Kennedy gave eulogies as well, along with Ms. Bernard's daughter, Josefina "Fina" Harvin, of Sunrise.
"Really I am not the one most qualified [to give the eulogy]," Harvin said. "The Kennedy family are the ones most qualified because she was with them for 44 years. My mom was with the Kennedys for so long, we became like an intertwined family."
The Kennedy family never treated her mother like she was the help, Harvin said. Even when important guests came to visit, Mr. and Mrs. Kennedy would make sure to introduce her mother as the children's nurse.
"In those days, and even today, you work for a very wealthy family and you are like a piece of furniture; you are not recognized," Harvin told the Sun Sentinel. "The Kennedys would always stop and introduce her."
Ms. Bernard came to work for the Kennedy family in 1951, when there was one child. Seven years later, she had eight children to watch.
She went where they went, spending summers in Cape Cod and Easters in Palm Beach. She met who they met: the Pope, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton.
Ms. Bernard assumed an expanded role following the assassination of Bobby Kennedy in 1968. After the Kennedy children were grown, Ms. Bernard stayed on as a trusted member of the household staff.
The Kennedys were generous, paying for her mother's medical care and providing her with a pension, Harvin said.
Ms. Bernard leaves behind six grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren of her own, her daughter said.
"My heart is broken," said Kerry, the first of the Kennedys to speak. "She was with us so long and was there for us in our times of trouble."
Ms. Bernard lived next to the nursery on the third floor of Hickory Hill, the sprawling family home in McLean, Va. She slept in a twin bed, often with a toddler dozing next to her.
"On occasion, she would threaten us with a pow-pow," Kerry said. "It was an empty gesture. She never raised a hand to us. Instead, she prodded us along with joy and humor."
Ms. Bernard loved each child in such a way that all of them thought they were her favorite, said Douglas Kennedy, Ethel and Bobby's 10th child.
"I don't know what I would do without the love and care Ena gave me," he said. "Her love is as close to God's love as I think I will ever experience."
As a boy, Maxwell Kennedy said he would pray that God would not take Ms. Bernard away from them. That's because when the Kennedy children got too wild, Ena would tell them, "You children are going to kill me. And then what's going to happen to Fina?" he said, prompting chuckles from the crowd.
Bobby Kennedy thanked Ms. Bernard's daughter and family for "loaning her to us" for more than four decades.
"We were so lucky to have had her in our lives," he said. "The best proof that God loves the Kennedy family is that he gave us Ena for all those years."
After the funeral, Joe Kennedy spoke briefly with reporters, describing the beloved nanny from his childhood as a wonderful soul who became part of the family.
"She got us through fun times and difficult times," he said. "She was a huge force in our lives."
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