Edmund Rice, an educator of hearts and minds

Trinity College is a Catholic School in the Edmund Rice tradition and on Tuesday, May 11 we will come together as a community to celebrate Edmund Rice Day and give thanks for the life and inspiration of our Founder, Blessed Edmund Rice.

Edmund Rice was born to Robert and Margaret Rice (née Tierney) on 1 June 1762. He was raised on the farming property of "Westcourt", in Callan, County Kilkenny.

Edmund was born in Ireland at a time when Catholics faced oppression under Penal Laws enforced by the British authorities but despite this, forged a successful career in business.

He was widowed as a young man after his wife tragically died during the birth of his disabled daughter, Mary.  In his grief Edmund turned to a life of prayer and charitable work. In 1802, on witnessing the plight and suffering of the poor and underprivileged street children around him, Edmund devoted his considerable wealth and business skills to the establishment of a school where these children could be educated and cared for. He found many teachers were having difficulty in managing the children and subsequently resigned. He therefore devoted himself to training teachers who would then go on to dedicate their lives to prayers and to teaching the children free of charge.

In 1808, seven of the staff including Edmund Rice, took religious vows under the authority of Bishop Power of Waterford. Following the example of Nano Nagle's Presentation Sisters, they were called Presentation Brothers. This was the first congregation of men to be founded in Ireland and one of the few ever founded by a layman. Gradually a transformation had taken place amongst the "quay kids" of Waterford, largely attributed to the work of Edmund and his Brothers, who educated, clothed and fed the boys. In 1820 Edmund Rice founded the Christian Brothers.

This work started by Edmund has spread around the world and is the foundation upon which Trinity College was built. Under the auspices of Edmund Rice Education Australia (EREA), there are over fifty schools and learning centres across Australia that can trace their existence to Blessed Edmund Rice.