Edmund Rice was an Irishman who founded the Christian Brothers and the Presentation Brothers – Religious Communities of men who worked to create a system of education for under-privileged youth. He was a business-man and an educator, but firstly, a man of the Church. He was born in 1762 in Callan, County Kilkenny which is in Ireland. The name Clontarf comes from the name of a suburb in Dublin, in Ireland.
Edmund Rice grew up on a farm called Westcourt and was one of the few fortunate enough to receive a good education. After finishing school, Edmund Rice became an apprentice at the port city of Waterford. He married Mary Elliott in 1787 and they had much to look forward to as Mary was pregnant, however in 1789, when Edmund was only 26, Mary tragically died but the unborn child survived but was left with a disability. While Edmund’s relatives cared for his daughter, Edmund worked hard and was inspired by his Catholic faith and became closer to God. In his suffering he found himself drawing closer to God.
He was on a business trip and he stayed at an inn and he shared a room with a Friar (a priest)- and this had a big impact on him as he saw the Friar praying. This attracted him to religious life, but it wasn’t until later when he formed his own religious community, and he realised he wanted to help out in the community so firstly he converted some stables into a school for some street boys. In 1802 He then began building a purpose built school in Waterford.
He called the school Mount Sion. He built classrooms, a bakery and a tailor shop. He also had some assistants working with him who joined in the religious community – and these were Brothers in the community and so in 1802 Edmund Rice founded the Christian Brothers.
After two years of poor health he died on 28 August 1844. But his vision and mission continue throughout the world today, from the humble beginnings in Ireland, there are now Christian Brothers all over the world. Now Edmund Rice is known as Blessed Edmund Rice. It means that he is on his way to becoming a Saint- he is a wonderful role model to all, to be the best people we can be.
At Clontarf Aboriginal College we honour Edmund Rice in many different ways:
- All prayers end with “Blessed Edmund Rice: Pray for us!”
- Edmund Rice Day – Term 2
- Homeroom quiz competition
- Students and staff receive an Edmund Rice souvenir
- Whole-school mass
- Whole-school, staff and Community luncheon
- Novelty fun games in the afternoon
- Presence of Christian Brothers at College events
- Students study and learn about Edmund Rice through their Religious Education, and other curriculum, classes
- Two awards are presented in honour of Blessed Edmund Rice
- To one Year 12 student who has actively demonstrated the spirit and characteristics of Edmund Rice
- To one Year 7-11 student who has been the most outstanding student in the Christian Service Learning program