There are two distinct entities making up the “Us”:
1. The Edmund Rice Brothers of the Congregation of Christian Brothers:
Edmund Rice Religious Brothers from Australia, New Zealand, and India first established communities in Kabankalan Negros Occidental in March 2006 and Hilongos (Leyte Island) with re-siting in Maasin in June 2010. Since 2017, a community has been formed in Cebu City. The focus of the Brothers’ mission from its beginning in the Philippines, has been the very poor and the young.
2. The Edmund Rice Ministries Foundation, Philippines Inc. (ERMFPI):
Initial financial support for the Brothers and their mission, came from the Brothers’ Congregation and friends in Australia. With the founding of Edmund Rice Foundation - Australia (ERFA) in 2011, support for the Mission was taken up largely by ERFA with the Brothers’ Congregation continuing to support the Brothers.
The Philippines owning the Mission of the Foundation: To really put down Mission roots in the society of the Philippines, on March 18, 2015, the Edmund Rice Ministries Foundation, Philippines Inc. (ERMFPI was established by registration with the Securities and Exchange Commission. (Company Reg. No. CN201505207). This Foundation (ERMFPI) is owned by regular members of the Foundation, the majority of whom are lay Filipino people. The regular members elect the Board of 9 Trustees who have the responsibility for governance of the Foundation. ERFA has continued to support the ministries of ERMFPI as it has worked to gain Department of Social Welfare & Development registration, licensing and accreditation and moved to take up other challenges in order to implement its mission to the poor and marginalized, fulfilling its mandate to become a fully functioning fund-raising Foundation.
ERMFPI VISION, MISSION AND GOALS:
Inclusive, community-based education anchored on the ERMFPI purposes through:
- A human rights-based approach.
- The promotion of self-determination, advocacy andleadership roles leading to liberation from poverty, disability and marginalization,resulting in improved quality of life.
- Promotion and interaction of gospel values with culture, faith and life.
- Caring for mother earth.
- Creative application of the principles and values of Blessed Edmund Rice to current and changing times and needs.
Core Foundation Values
Presence – being with the other in a warm, personal and spiritual way with an openness to acceptance, friendship and care.
Compassion – having a deep feeling for the situation of the other; a feeling which urges helpful action.
Liberation – setting free, or being set free, from whatever holds one down.
Ask a person who has experienced care and that person will explain better, the meaning of Presence, Compassion, Liberation and Integrity.
Edmund Rice Ministries Foundation is committed to the safety of children and adults, and to the safety and inclusion of those of culturally and/or linguistically diverse backgrounds, and those with varied abilities.
Edmund Rice Ministries Foundation supports and respects every child, and works to ensure that all those who engage with our services or with individual personnel, are, and feel, safe, supported and valued.
Edmund Rice Ministries Foundation has zero tolerance for child abuse, and all allegations and safety concerns are treated very seriously and consistently in accordance with its robust policies and procedures, including all external reporting obligations.
Edmund Rice Ministries Foundation is committed to professional recruitment practices for all staff and volunteers, and to providing regular training and education for staff and volunteers on child abuse risks and appropriate responses.
The Foundation’s Motto
The Foundation Song
Republic of the Philippines shared Values
Maka-Dios: For God.
-To grow in peace and harmony within themselves in their God-quest, mediating the God-presence to others.
Maka-Tao: For the People
-To grow in respect for human dignity with social and loving co-responsibility for their families and neighbors, having a special solidarity with and commitment to vulnerable and disadvantaged people in society.
Makakalikasan: For Nature
-To grow in responsible concern for the care and stewardship of the environment of Mother Earth: the land, water, and air with a right relationship of humankind’s activities to all creatures within the Philippines and beyond, not only for all creation at this time but for future generations.
Makabansa: For the Country
-To identify with, value, esteem and be of service to, the common good and unity in truth, justice, peace, and development of the Filipino nation and its role in contributing positively to the world family of nations.
EDMUND RICE – OUR INSPIRATION
WHO WAS BLESSED EDMUND RICE? On 1st June 1762 in Callan, Ireland, Edmund was born to Margaret and Robert Rice. Robert had a large farm of almost 200 acres. As Catholics, the family was relatively well off. Most Irish Catholics were still suffering severe poverty from the terrible penal laws imposed by the British government during the 17th& 18th Centuries. Margaret Rice’s kindness and generosity to the poor were a great example to her 2 daughters and 7 sons. Edmund was the 4th son.
Margaret Rice as well as giving an example of kindness to poor people, led her children in daily, family prayer.
EDMUND ENTERS BUSINESS. After schooling, in 1779 at the age of 17, Edmund went to the very busy port city of Waterford as apprentice to his uncle, Michael Rice who owned a business supplying all that sailing ships needed to go to sea. It seems that Edmund went through a giddy stage. He was young and city life was a new experience. However, he had an eye for detail, a good way with people; and in time, in 1794, he inherited the business. Even in his early years in Waterford, he went to Mass daily, prayed the Rosary with others and cared for the poor; many of whom had come to the city in search of livelihood since the dark cloud of poverty still stretched over the country of Ireland.
Even as a young businessman, Edmund responded to individual needy people
LOVE AND MARRIAGE. In 1785, Edmund at the age of 23, fell in love and married a young lady named Mary Elliott. He moved from where he lived close to the piers, to Ballybricken, closer to the markets. In January 1789, his wife died suddenly leaving Edmund with an infant daughter, Mary. The loss of his wife caused Edmund great pain, bewilderment and depression. His little daughter at the same time called him to great compassion and love. His sister, helped with the upbringing of the little girl.
It was responding to needs of his little daughter who never knew her mother, that deepened Edmund’s love and compassion for those made poor.
A NEW CALL IN MATURE AGE
DEEPENED SPIRITUAL GROWTH Between 1789 and 1802 as business and layman, Edmund matured spiritually through God speaking to him through life’s experiences and through God’s Word in Scripture Edmund purchased a 1791 edition of a Bible for his own use. The verses that he marked are related to justice and sharing wealth with the poor. He gained a heightened sense of God’s presence in the words of Scripture, His presence in the Eucharist and the mystery of His presence in people created in His own image, especially those who are suffering, who are poor and in need.
Mary, the finest flower of the Old Testament, being presented in the Temple, is a symbol of holiness, dedication and suffering as well as “magnifying the Lord”
A text of the open Bible that touched Edmund was:“The Lord gave and the Lord taketh away, so blessed be His name for ever and ever.”
COLLABORATION WITH OTHERS IN RESPONDING TO THE POOR: In a substantial way in 1793, Edmund responded to the poor in collaborative action by co-founding an Orphan Society. A year later, the year his Uncle Michael Rice died, Edmund, along with other businessmen, Catholic and Protestant, established a Foundation to provide housing for desperately poor people living alone. He continued to help the Presentation Sisters and their education for poor girls to become established in Waterford City. He purchased and immediately set-free the slave-boy John Thomas/Black Johnny. With the Sisters support, Edmund saw to the John’s education and his being set up in business in Ireland… yet another example of hearing the call of Christ from the poor and responding in collaboration with others.
Partnering with others
Empowering people who are poor
EDMUND DECIDES TO MAKE A LEAP OF FAITH: Edmund deep in his heart felt a calling to a changed way of life... perhaps to join a monastery in France. (His brother John had become an Augustinian priest.) There is the image of Edmund talking to his sister Joan or to the sister of Fr. Power, a close friend... the alternative call which brought together both his mind and heart came when he saw through the window, poor boys playing in the street... a call to ministry to and with the poor, accompanied by Jesus. With his daughter Mary in her teens living with his brother and his wife, Edmund made financial arrangements for her future. As a temporary measure, he moved out of his house to a stables-building in New Street and commenced teaching street boys himself on the ground floor while living upstairs. Paid helpers left, but in time two young laymen, Thomas Governor and Patrick Finn from his home town of Callan, came as volunteers. They joined him in teaching and in founding a new congregation of vowed laymen. Edmund having sold his business to build his first Brothers House and School, named Mt. Sion, wisely invested his remaining fortune in property and cattle. This move supported the communities of his brothers for many years to come.
In the tradition of Irish monks sailing off for mission, Edmund moves from his Home No. 3 in Arundel Place, associated with his business life to the loft of stables to take up his mission in New Street… teaching poor boys.
BROTHERHOOD AND MISSION
MT. SION WATERFORD: When the brothers’ house and school were completed, Brothers and boys moved from New Street to Mt. Sion just outside the old city walls. On the 15 August 1808, Edmund with seven brothers made their vows as religious Brothers of the Presentation with their rule of life suitably adapted from that of the Presentation Sisters. By that time there were some 700 boys attending the Mt. Sion School. The school had its own bake-house for poor boys to have bread and Edmund employed a tailor fulltime making clothes for them.
In Edmund’s thinking, community living and relationships being supportive of others, were important for life and mission.
This was in accord with the old Irish Proverb:“It is in the shelter of one another that people live.”
A NEW UNION: On 20 January 1822, 19 of the 30 brothers met in one place, accepted the new rule and elected Edmund, the Founder, to be Head. The new unified congregation directly responsible to the Pope became known as the Christian Brothers. Some of the 11 who were not able to attend the meeting joined the new union; others continued as Presentation Brothers. The Presentation Brothers have continued to recognize Edmund as their founder.
Pope Pius vii on Sept.5, 1820 Issued the “brief” entitled “Ad Pastoralis Dignitatis”
Permitting the Brothers to make vows under the Brief and to elect a Head brother directly responsible to the Holy Father, the Bishop of Rome. In January 1822, Edmund and 18 brothers made vows under the brief and elected the founder, Edmund Rice as Superior General.
Some brothers notably in Cork City decided to remain as Presentation Brothers and remain under the direct authority of their respective local bishops.
SPREAD OF EDMUND RICE BROTHERS TO THE WORLD: Both Christian and Presentation Brothers of Edmund Rice spread to many places in Ireland responding to needs of poor boys. During Edmund’s life-time, Brothers went to England, Gibraltar and Sydney Australia. From Australia, Brothers went to New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Pacific Island Countries and Timor Leste. Irish Brothers also went to India, North and South America, China, Italy, Africa, and the Caribbean. Brothers from different countries have joined to go together to other countries as in Geneva, Africa and the Philippines. Brothers continue to cross continents and countries in Edmund Rice mission.
Edmund’s relaxed but intent gaze looks to the far horizons of the world with kindness and compassion. He is backed by the spiral symbol representing God the Father who had no beginning and will have no end.
The child Jesus, the Son, looks to Edmund and points to his Mother. The blue dove-like Holy Spirit moves down through Edmund’s whole being.
The same Spirit fills and leads all those inspired by Edmund. The Spirit speaks of the Christ Jesus and leads us in the way of Jesus in one direction only, to the Father.
BLESSED EDMUND RICE: Edmund of course saw only some of this. He lived a life of faith, trust in Providence, joy and hope; a life not without considerable suffering, hardship and disappointment... but always responding to the call of Christ from the poor. He died on 29 August 1844. He was beatified in Rome by Pope (St.) John Paul II, Oct. 6, 1996. His vision continues to live on... namely: through collaborative effort of brothers, people, the Church and others, with trust in the Providence of God, empowering the poor that they may “live life to the full”.
In the final image Edmund is seen transfigured united with his God. his mission fulfilled… yet being continued in the world by those who are open to hear the call of Christ present in the poor.
Those who are carrying on responding to the call of Christ present in poor people are blessed by Edmund’s favorite prayer:
“Live Jesus, in our hearts forever!”