Legacy of Edmund Rice

Edmund Rice 1762-1844 

Edmund Rice pictureEdmund Rice, the founder of the Christian Brothers and Presentation Brothers, was born in Callan, Co. Kilkenny in 1762.

After education at home and at a commercial college in Kilkenny, he was apprenticed to his uncle who was a businessman in Waterford.

Having become a very successful businessman in his own right he married Mary Elliot, the daughter of one of his colleagues. However two interconnected events were to change the course of his life. His wife died following an accident leaving him with his daughter Mary who had special needs.

1798 was a defining moment in Edmund`s life. This twist of fate turned his sedate successful life upside down. Whilst continuing with his business interests he now began to look for a deeper meaning in his life.

The plight of destitute boys in Waterford suggested a way forward to the millionaire businessman. In 1802, at the age of 40, he gave up his business to open a school and resource centre in a converted stable in New Street, Waterford. The Institute he subsequently founded spread rapidly to towns and cities throughout Ireland and abroad over the next number of decades.
There are currently 122 schools in the Christian Brother network of schools in Ireland alone.

Christian Brothers world-wide

The spread of Edmund Rice's Brothers around the world.


Edmund Rice`s radical intervention in Irish history was based on his central philosophical tenet that education is a prerequisite to the attainment of full human dignity and that this educational experience can only reach its full potential where religious values permeate the curriculum, relationships and ethos of the school.

Admiration for his life’s achievement, his vision and legacy, people touched by his charism, and devotion to his memory by prayer groups, have made him known throughout the world.

Visit the International Edmund Rice website at edmundrice.net

Family home of Edmund RiceThe home of Edmund Rice