1762-1844; b. Callan, Co. Kilkenny; ed. hedge-school, and two years in Kilkenny boarding school; joined uncles exporting business in Waterford shortly after wifes death and birth of daughter, 1779 [var. 1789]; relieved poor and imprisoned at own expense; est. school at Mount Sion, 1802-03; taught English to his friend Charles Bianconi; est. schools at Clonmel, Dungarvan, and Cork, 1806-11; secured Papal recognition for Order of Religious Brothers of Christian Schools (Christian Brothers), hhaving taken vows with eight others, 1820; elected superior of the Order, 1822; ended his days at Mount Sion; case for beatification opened 1863; d. 29 Aug., Waterford; beatified at ceremony in Vatican, 6 Oct. 1996. DIB DIH
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J. D. Fitzpatrick, Edmund Rice: Founder of the Christian Brothers (1945); Desmond Rushe, Edmund Rice, The Man and His Times ( Gill & Macmillan 1995); Daire Keogh, Edmund Rice, 1762-1844 (Dublin: Four Courts 1995) [reiss.? 1996], 128pp.; Matthew Feheney FPM, Edmund Rice: The Presentation Tradition (Veritas 1996) [essays of past pupils incl. Sean OFaolain and John McGahern]; Dáire Keogh, Edmund Rice and the Christian Brothers (Dublin: Four Courts 2008), 320pp.
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Benedict Kiely, Drink to the Bird ( London: Methuen 1991), in the course of a defence of the Christian Brothers: Edmund Rice had been a rich merchant in Waterford City and, when left a widower, he took the words of the Gospel quite literally, and sold what he had and gave to the poor and followed Christ. He had, too, considerable possessions. It seems clear that the death of his wife and the birth of a daughter who was mentally retarded sharpened his perceptions of the nature of the passing vanities of this life. It seems quite as clear that the impulse to give and to deny himself, for the sake of his fellow man, was there from the beginning, was bred into the bone: giving, not with any wild demonstration or public enthusiasm, but with resistless, businesslike, Norman method. / Ireland has had reason to be grateful. Rice thought that the poor, of whom Ireland then had more than her share, needed gainful employment and decent homes, and food and respectable clothes, and books, and education, and the love of God. Books and libraries were very high up on his list. But the love of God, and the unselfish love of his fellow man, ruled over all. (p.70.
Fintan OToole, Blessed Among Brothers (Irish Times, Weekend feature, 5 Oct. 1996): The pupils the church most wanted to attracted away from the State national schools were not the destitute but the sons of the better class of Roman Catholic population. The alternative they offered them was, for a rising lower middle-class, an irresistible combination of two attractions. One was the assertion through rigid Catholicism of a narrow but secure Irish identity. The other was a fiercely pragmatic determination that no intellectual or ideological qualms would stand in the way of modest but assured social advancement. The Brothers promise was that their pupils would be ambitious enough to get better jobs that their parent, yet conservative enough to retrain their parents values./The cost of keeping that promise was paid in violence and repressed sexuality. Quotes de Valera, Ireland owes more than it will probably ever realise to the Christian Brothers. I am an individual who owes practically everything to the Christian Brothers; also Todd Andrews: Without the groundwork of the Christian Brothers schooling, probably there would have been no 1916 Rising, and certain that the subsequent fight for independence would not have been successfully carried through. The leadership of the IRA came largely from those who got their education from the Brothers, and got it free.
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Hyland (Cats. 219, 224): A Christian Brother, Edmund Ignatius Rice & the Christian Brothers [1st ed., 1926) [var. 1929]; J. D. Fitzpatrick, Edmund Rice: Founder of the Christian Brothers (1945).
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