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Edmund Rice Education Australia

Edmund Rice Education Australia was established in October 2007. It is the governing body of the schools previously administered by the Christian Brothers.  It is the outcome of one of two project groups, the National Planning Committee for Schools Governance (schools) and Shaping our Future Committee Oceania (Brothers’ communities).

As a result of the work of these two groups, the Christian Brothers decided to amalgamate separate Christian Brothers provinces in Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea to form one Oceania Province for the Brothers focused on the social justice mission of the Christian Brothers. 

Separately, Edmund Rice Education Australia was established with the intention of independently governing the implementation of the educational mission of the Christian Brothers in Catholic Education while empowering lay people to become increasingly involved in the leadership of the future educational work of the Brothers.

The opportunity for Edmund Rice Education Australia is to reinforce the distinctive values of Edmund Rice Education in Catholic Education through a national and unified network of schools and educational entities throughout Australia. All schools and educational entities in the Edmund Rice tradition across Australia are unified by a Charter which comprises touchstones giving ideals authentically linked with the Charism of Blessed Edmund Rice and which underpin the ministry in the schools and educational endeavors in Church mission. The touchstones of the Charter are: Inclusive Community, Liberating Education, Justice and Solidarity and Gospel Spirituality.

Edmund Rice Education Australia operates from a national office in Richmond, Victoria, together with regional support offices in Victoria, New South Wales, South Australia, Western Australia and Queensland.

The Identity of a Catholic school in the Edmund Rice tradition lies in its being an instrument of the Church’s mission and motivated by its evangelisation role. While all Catholic schools work for the mission of the Church, the charism of Blessed Edmund Rice is the prism through which Christian Brothers’ schools look at the world in discerning the needs in light of the Gospel. They do this within the local church a nd with the experience, joy and hope of a living tradition. Such is their mission as they strive to be part of the Kingdom’s mission through school ministry as Church mission Foundations 2005.

www.erea.edu.au

Edmund Rice

Born in Callan, Ireland, in 1762, Edmund came to the bustling city port of Waterford as a young man. He was talented and energetic and soon became very wealthy. Married to Mary Elliot, in 1789 he experienced her tragic death soon after she gave birth to their daughter Mary.

Deeply saddened by this loss, Edmund entered a time of mourning. As his daughter continued to open the depths of his love, his relationship with God deepened. In his own brokenness, he was moved with compassion to recognise the brokenness of those around him. He entered more deeply into their struggle and found in the story of Jesus the call to liberation that is at the heart of what Jesus preached and in which his church is engaged. 

The Ireland of Edmund’s day was an unjust place where many lived in poverty and social structures deeply oppressed the majority of the population.I n 1802 he set up a free school for boys living in poverty. His aim was to promote an education that recognised the dignity of each individual and thus he sought to liberate them from their ignorance of God and of their Catholic faith, while at the same time empowering them with an education which would enable them to rise from the demeaning poverty and sense of hopelessness in which they were trapped. Thus Edmund sought to liberate individuals and indeed to free his society from oppression.

The Charter for Edmund Rice Schools

In 2004, the Province Leaders of the Christian Brothers in Australia proclaimed a Charter for Catholic Schools in the Edmund Rice Tradition, a document that aimed to capture the character and culture of their schools. Challenging the schools, their leaders, staff, students and families to be faithful to this character, the Charter was seen as a living document which was to evolve through review and reflection as the demands of our changing times are read and interpreted in the light of the unchanging Gospel.

On August 22nd of 2011, following several years of reflection and wide consultation, Br Philip Pinto, Congregational Leader of the Christian Brothers officially launched a revised Charter. This revised Charter now uses four touchstones to describe the culture and ethos of an Edmund Rice school.

The Brothers chose to use the term Touchstone as they believe that this describes the fundamental or quintessential features of their schools. In earlier times a Touchstone was used to judge the purity of precious metals. A streak left on the Touchstone was compared with a streak made by the pure metal. Through this process authenticity was verified.

The four touchstones that have been identified as being an essential part of all Edmund Rice Schools and hence Trinity College are:

Liberating Education

Liberating Education

As a school in the Edmund Rice tradition we will aim to open hearts and minds, through quality teaching and learning experiences, so that through critical reflection and engagement each person is hope-filled and encouraged to build a better world for all.

Gospel Spirituality

Gospel Spirituality

Our College will invite all people into the story of Jesus Christ and strive to make his message of compassion, justice and peace a living reality within our community.

Inclusive Community

Inclusive Community

Our community aims to be accepting and welcoming, fostering right relationships and committed to the common good.

Justice and Solidarity

Justice and Solidarity

We are committed to justice and peace for all, grounded in a spirituality of action and reflection that calls us to stand in solidarity with those who are marginalised and the Earth itself.

We are committed to justice and peace for all, grounded in a spirituality of action and reflection that calls us to stand in solidarity with those who are marginalised and the Earth itself.

Our College is committed to justice and peace for all, grounded in a spirituality of action and reflection that calls us to stand in solidarity with those who are marginalised and with our planet.

When Edmund Rice Education Australia was being planned as a future governance body for schools owned and governed by the Christian Brothers, it was clear that structures had to be in place to protect the particular character and culture of the schools. Initiatives to meet this need included the development of the Charter for Catholic Schools in the Edmund Rice Tradition, the planning of Formation programs, the establishment of the School Renewal Process and, within the organisational structure of EREA, the establishment of the Identity Directorate.

In articulating identity, EREA calls upon the message of the Gospel, the charism of Edmund Rice, the mission of Catholic Education, the story of the Christian Brothers and the lived reality of schools which have shared a long and proud Christian Brothers heritage.

All schools and educational entities in the Edmund Rice tradition across Australia are bound by a Charter which comprises touchstones giving ideals authentically linked with the charism of Blessed Edmund Rice and which underpin the ministry in our schools and educational endeavours.

These touchstones will help us set our direction and define our goals as, following Blessed Edmund’s example, we continue to reflect and to seek to make the Gospel a living reality in our communities. Living these touchstones gives Edmund Rice Education Australia a special position in educating for liberation and possibility. Each school and educational entity within Edmund Rice Education Australia is called to be authentic to The Charter.

…the Charter aims to inspire school communities to foster energetically the vision of a charismatic leader, Blessed Edmund Rice, in the Spirit of Christ and the educational mission of the Catholic Church.

The formulation of the revised Charter was the result of consultation and collaboration by Edmund Rice Education Australia with the schools and educational entities throughout Australia.

As a living document, the Charter will continue to evolve through review and reflection as the demands of our changing times are read and interpreted in the light of the unchanging Gospel.

Download the EREA Information Booklet 2015 HERE

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