May 5, 2017
MAY 5th – FEAST DAY OF BLESSED EDMUND RICE
Bishop Kearney students gathered today as a school community for a special mass today in honor of Blessed Edmund Rice. May 5th is the feast day of Edmund Rice who was declared “Blessed” by Pope John Paul II on October 6, 1996 in Rome and is recognized as a man of heroic virtue and a model for others.
Edmund Ignatius Rice (1762-1844) founded the Congregation of Christian Brothers in 1802 in Waterford, Ireland, in order to provide quality, Catholic education to the materially poor. He heard God’s call in the poor, uneducated, marginalized young boys of Ireland. Edmund Rice began to establish Catholic schools, although such schools were illegal at that time. He took in the boys everyone else had given up on. It did not take long for him to realize that he must attend to all the needs of the boys — food, clothing, and housing.
Edmund gave up his comfortable home for a room above the stable which served as his first school. He supported the venture financially by the profits from his business. Other young men, impressed by his example, joined him in his service to the poor. His first permanent school building, Mt. Sion, included a tailor shop and bakery so that the students might also be fed and clothed.
By the end of the nineteenth century the Congregation had grown steadily in membership and Brothers had moved to many different countries around the world. The first Brothers came to Newfoundland in 1876 and to the United States in 1906. During the twentieth century the Brothers expanded throughout Canada and the United States and opened schools and ministries in many cities and towns. The Congregation of Christian Brothers has successfully provided this education for almost two hundred years in 250 schools and colleges throughout the world. Over fifty years since Bishop Kearney opened in 1962, Bishop Kearney continues to offer educational opportunities for students in grades 6-12 in the tradition of the Congregation of Christian Brothers and School Sisters of Notre Dame.