Edmund Rice (1762-1844) was the founder of the Congregation of Christian Brothers. He was born in Callan, County Kilkenny, Ireland. As a young man he came to the bustling port city of Waterford and worked in his uncle’s business. He was talented and energetic and soon became a very wealthy man. In 1785 he fell in love and married Mary Elliot. However, his happiness was shattered with the tragic death of his wife just four years later. Mary died in childbirth and Edmund was left with a handicapped daughter.
This shattering experience was to mark a decisive turning point in Edmund’s life. He spent more and more time in prayer and in helping the great numbers of people in Waterford who suffered poverty and injustice. In 1802 he set up a free school for poor young people. Having provided for his daughter, Mary, who was cared for by his family, he left his comfortable house and lived over the school.
Influenced by the work of Nano Nagle and the Presentation Sisters, he gathered around him a group of men, forming a religious community of Brothers dedicated to ‘raising up the poor’. Today he is honoured as the Founder of both the Congregation of Christian Brothers and the Presentation Brothers. Many others were attracted by his vision and generosity, and the educational mission of the Brothers spread throughout Ireland and to many parts of the world. All followers of Edmund Rice are committed to education as liberation.
We are inspired by the work of Edmund Rice, who was inspired by the Gospels to reach out to the destitute. With a group of friends, Edmund formed a religious congregation that sought to improve the lives of those made poor, via transformational education.
Runnymede is part of a global network of schools who are united in the spirit of the Blessed Edmund Rice.
The way of education begun by Edmund Rice expressed both sides of his character. Compassion for the children in his care and the fervour of his own personal commitment to Christ described his fundamental attitude, but it was balanced by the practical acumen of a shrewd man of business.
Edmund not only had a vision of transformation for the poor boys of his own town, but he wanted to make it a concrete and lasting reality.
Christian Brothers’ schools today are challenged by the story of Edmund as they seek to live out gospel values in the competitive climate of today’s educational world.
As an Edmund Rice School, we are committed to 8 Essentials drawn from the educational charism of Blessed Edmund Rice and all that is best in the subsequent tradition of Christian Brother education.