Each Brother is an open letter from Christ-a message written, not with ink but in the Spirit of the living God, with a faithful human heart to carry it!
Brothers are lay religious, who profess vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. They commit themselves to a life of ministry and prayer within the community.
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Blessed Edmund Ignatius Rice is a shining example of the fruitfulness of the Christian Life when, as Saint Peter writes to the Phillippians, we "fill our minds with everything that is true, noble good and pure" (cf. Phil 4:8-9). Here we have an outstanding model of a true lay apostle and a deeply committed Religious. The love which he first gave to his young wife and which, after her untimely death, he always showed for his daughter, blossomed into a host of spiritual and corporal works of mercy, as he helped the clergy of his parish meet the pressing needs of his fellow citizens oppressed by poverty and the weight of anti-Catholic legislation.
The spirit eventually led him to the total consecration of himself and his companions in the Religious life. Today, his spiritual sons, the Christian Brothers and the Presentation Brothers, continue his mission: a mission which he himself described in this simple and clear intention: "Trusting in God's help, I hope to be able to educate these boys to be good Catholics and good citizens". Who will ever measure all the good that has come from the spiritual insight, warm heart and determined faith of Blessed Edmund Ignatius Rice? Once more Ireland has given the Church and the world a striking testimony of complete fidelity to Christ: "Keep doing all the things that you have been taught by him... Then the God of peace will be with you" (cf. Phil 4:9).
I warmly greet the many pilgrims from Ireland and other parts of the world who have come for the Beatification of Edmund Ignatius Rice. Your presence is a tribute to the dedicated work of the Christian Brothers and the Presentation Brothers, especially in the all-important field of Catholic education. The Saints of Ireland, old and new, show how deeply the Irish people have committed themselves to Christ. I invite you to pray that this heritage of authentic faith and holiness will be the inspiration of a new harmony and peace between the communities in Northern Ireland, between people of different political views. Let us all pray that the Irish people will put tension and conflict behind them and go on to build a brighter and more serene future for the younger generation. Nothing is lost through peace; everything can be lost through violence. God bless you all!
Wall Hanging for Blessed Edmund Rice's Beatification in Rome now on display at Mt.Sion, Waterford, Ireland.