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Our Founder



-A Vision in making

On the 16th of October 1996 the pope beatified Edmund Rice in a glittering ceremony and he came to be known as “Blessed Edmund Ignatius rice”. A person who devoted his life to the education

of the ragged poor boys running wild on the streets of Waterford, his own sorrows taught him to open his heart out to the needy and serve them. With this desire burning in his soul,he founded The Congregation of the Christian Brothers, and today, as we fondly remember him on the Bicentenary of The Congregation of Christian Brothers, we present brief synopsis of his life. The house where Edmund Rice was born House of Edmund Rice.


Edmund was born to a pious and respected family, on the 1st June 1762 at West court, Callan, and County Kilkenny, Ireland. The fourthamong seven brothers, Edmund received his basic moral education at home.His family was very religious and highly respected in the community fortheir generosity to the poor.


Like any boy growing up in the Kilkenny countryside, Edmund fished, swam and played hurling. Edmund received an education denied to the majority of Catholics. He first went to “hedge school”, an illegal pay school set up by a travelling teacher. Here he received a practical and classical education. When Edmund was seventeen, he was apprenticed to his uncle Michael Rice, who was a well-established businessman in the thriving port of Waterford. He quickly won his uncle’s confidence and a deep affection developed between them. When Edmund was twenty-four,his uncle signed over the business to him.


At a time when most of the Irish people were extremely poor and living under repressive laws, Edmund Rice became a wealthy and influential member of the city of Waterford. In his mid-twenties he felling love with Mary Elliot and got married. However, after a few years of marriage Mary fell from a horse and later succumbed to her injuries. She was pregnant with their first child at the time of her accident. As a result the baby was born prematurely and was handicapped. Edmund named the baby Mary and took care of here until she was twelve years old.Then, he entrusted her to the care of his brother Patrick and his wife,who reared her in his home in the countryside near Callan. She lived a long and unhappy life until her death in 1859.


By now, thirteen years had passed since the death of his wife .Edmund realized that he needed a vocation in his life. His own sorrow and grief taught him to open his heart in compassion to the poor and needy that surrounded him in Waterford. His heart went out to the ragged poor boys running wild on the streets. Edmund Rice wanted to transform the lives of the poor children of Waterford. He wanted to raise their dignity in the face of appalling poverty. For him, education was the key to their freedom. The education he sought to provide would not just equip them with skills, but would enable them to know that they were cared for and loved, that they were worthwhile and important. He began to search for soul mates to carry out his mission. Early in 1802 two young men, Patrick Finn and Thomas Grosvenor offered to join hands with Edmund without any fee or reward. He and his companions took up temporary commendation over some stables in New Street, and immediately began a form of community life.


Out of Edmund’s desire to follow his vocation “The Congregation of Christian Brothers” was founded and finally in 1820, after he took his final vows, he was elected Superior General of the Christian Brothers.His spirit continues to flourish through his congregation, which is today working in five continents, with mission in Britain, Rome, U.S.A., Argentina, Zambia, Ghana and Papua-New Guinea as well as many other countries. The motto of this congregation is “To do and to teach”.

” One thing you may be sure of;

that whilst you work for God,

whether you succeed or not,

He will amply reward you.”

—- Edmund Rice

Related links :

Know more about Edmund Rice on Wikipedia
St. Mary’s Province, Australia
Edmund Rice Network , New Zealand