Edmund Rice was born on a farm outside the small town of
Callan, Ireland, in 1762. Because Callan was Irish-speaking, he was undoubtedly
called Eamann at home. The Rices were comfortable by the standards of the day.
Edmund became a successful businessman in Waterford, in spite of the restrictive
While he was going about his business he became aware of
the ragged, disorderly, uncared-for boys who daily gathered around the timber
stacks on the docks. He began to feed them, to provide them with clothing, and
to teach them about their faith and academic subjects.
doing the work of God can be addictive.
The more you do, the more you
want to do. Edmund decided to sell his business and spend all of his money and
all of his time working for God by working for the poor; taking literally the
words of Christ: "Go, sell what you have, give it to the poor, and come follow
Edmund became famous in Waterford and others joined him. He founded
the Congregation of Christian Brothers, taking the religious name Ignatius, after
the founder of the Jesuits.
Today, Christian Brothers throughout the
world continue the work which Edmund started during the time of the Penal Laws
in 18th. century Ireland.