Blessed Edmund Ignatius Rice

Blessed Edmund Rice

Blessed Edmund Ignatius Rice (1762-1844) was the founder of the Christian Brothers. He opened his first school in Waterford, Ireland in 1802. Waverley College was founded in 1903.

Periods of Edmund's Life

The Period of Promise (1762-1802)

  • 1762-1781: The formative influence of environment, home and schooling, in Callan and Kilkenny.
  • 1781-1789: The Waterford-Ballybricken period of youthful success culminating in his marriage (1787), followed by the double tragedy of the death of his young wife and the birth of an invalid daughter.
  • 1789-1793: The Waterford-Arundle Place period of conversion to an outstanding apostolic lay Catholic with a deepening spiritual life; influence of the Jesuits. Material prosperity.
  • 1793: Encounter with Friar; religious vocation. Awareness of special vocation.
  • 1795: Presentation Sisters invited to Waterford.
  • 1796: His plans approved by Pope Pius VI, in general terms.
  • 1802: Opening of temporary school in New Street. Alone with his good resolutions. First two followers, Novitiate in a Stable. Building of monastery-school near Faha Chapel.

The Period of Achievement (1802-1820)

  • 1803: The dynamic patronage of Bishop Hussey: his relatio and his Will.
  • 1804: The benevolent Bishop Power. The blessing of Mount Sion, Waterford.
  • 1808: Official Diocesan recognition of "The Society of the Presentation". Religious Vows.
  • 1816: Opposition of Bishop Walsh of Waterford. Support of Archbishops Troy and Murray of Dublin.
  • 1820: Official Papal recognition. Brief of Pius VII. Composition of the rule of the religious Brothers. Separate identity of the Presentation Brothers.

The Years of Maturity (1820-1844)

  • 1825: A period of crucifying trials commences with the emergence of an opposition group within the Institute; climax reached in the Pay Schools Controversy (1837).
  • 1829: Institute appeared legally doomed by new penal laws. Attempted resignation as Superior General.
  • 1837: Serious financial situation, especially after ending of the National Board experiment; in addition further loss of clerical and episcopal favour.
    Continuation and expansion of the Institute's charitable activities at both individual and community level in a spirit of total dedication and self-sacrifice, with the Founder as leader and animator.
    The cross of increasing ill-health; severe arthritis added to the infirmities of advancing years.
  • 1838: Official retirement. Serious misunderstandings with his successor; on an issue of conscience in the matter of settling debts; and arising from the addition of a forged signature to a document denouncing the new superior general to the Roman authorities.
  • 1844: Patient endurance of his physical and moral sufferings to the end in a spirit of submission to God's Providence.
    "Pray that God's will may be fulfilled in me."