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Edmund Rice

orn on 1 June 1763, in the village of Callan in the centre of Ireland, Edmund Rice was the fourth of seven sons of a respected farming family. At the age of 17, Edmund joined his Uncle's business firm in the seaport town of Waterford, and proved himself so capable that eventually the business was confided to his care.

t the age of twenty-five he married, but the tragic death of his wife only two years later left him bereft and with the responsibility of a delicate baby daughter. His charitable activities increased after his wife's death and the aged, the poor, those in prison all received his care.

he year 1802 marked a turning point in his life. Friends pointing out the miserable condition of the many destitute boys who, uncouth and untaught, roamed the streets of the town, persuaded him to come to their help. Edmund disposed off his business, provided suitable care for his daughter, and then set up a temporary school in a disused stable, the loft of which was to serve as his living quarters.

he work at first was incredibly difficult. Apalled at the prospect of facing them, the assistants whom he engaged, quickly departed, leaving him alone to carry on the work. But before long he was joined by others who had been inspired by his example, and with them he began a simple religious life. Thus, The Irish Christian Brothers (now called the Congregation of Christian Brothers) began.

Edmund Rice

e saw his community increasing steadily, spreading throughout Ireland and England and even to Gibraltar. In 1838, exhausted by age and expertions, he resigned his duties and, six years later, he died, renowned for his holiness.

oday his mission is continued by more than 1900 brothers living in over 350 communities educating more than 200,000 students throughout the world.