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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The Edmundian Society includes men who devoted some portion of their lives as members of the Congregation of Christian Brothers, a religious order founded by Blessed Edmund Rice in Ireland in 1802. Whether these men left after a short time in pre-novitiate or novitiate training, or whether they left after a long time of teaching ministry in the Brothers' schools, a bond remains. While each individual's journey is unique, there has been a common recognition that the time spent living in community was a major influence in one's life.
Edmundians are members of the Edmund Rice Family, a wide circle of Brothers, Associates, former Brothers, students, families, friends and benefactors. The Edmund Rice Family realize as the Christian Brothers review their missions for the twenty-first century, that there is an increasing number of men and women who have been deeply affected by the vision of Blessed Edmund Rice and the work of his followers. Many of the Edmundians now reflect on how much they have learned from their study of the life and spirit of Blessed Edmund Ignatius Rice who lived from 1762-1844. The beatification of Brother Rice by Pope John Paul II in October 1996 demonstrated that the Roman Catholic church has recognized the exceptional holiness of this man, described in the beatification ceremony as "businessman, widower, father, teacher, founder and friend of the poor." The Christian Brothers and the Presentation Brothers recognize Blessed Edmund I. Rice as their Founder. The two congregations minister to the people in twenty-six countries located on every continent.
The Christian Brothers first came from Ireland to North America over a hundred years ago and are now ministering in Canada, Western and Eastern United States as well as in the West Indies, South America, Europe, Africa and Southeast Asia.
Over the years many of the Brothers who left the Congregation of Christian Brothers retained their friendships with Brothers and former Brothers. In many places there were informal gatherings and gradually a more formal organization evolved for mutual support.
In 1986 about 80 former Brothers and 45 Brothers met at Iona College in New York to begin what is now called the Edmundian Society, described in its constitution as: "a fellowship of men whose principal expressions are spiritual vitality, mutual support, and social sharing. Our primary purpose is to better develop our spirituality in the vocation we are now pursuing. The common bond that was once our life has reunited us in collegiality and support. Through our sharing with lived ones and the Christian Brothers, we have a privileged opportunity to foster an awareness of God's call by participating in generous response to this Society. We do this even as we engage in various vocations within the Christian Community." (This, and following quotations are from the Constitution of the Edmundian Society.)
The motto, "Lest we forget," was chosen because: "we feel a calling in faith by the Father to a deeper relationship with Jesus through our association with the Christian Brothers. We feel especially gifted by the charism of Edmund Ignatius Rice, so that we now feel responsible for nurturing the spirituality that grew from it."
The Society's Constitution establishes an Executive Board to coordinate personal support services when needed, and to facilitate events, including an annual Day of Recollection in the spring, and occasional social functions. In the fall, Edmundians gather with the Christian Brothers, their relatives and friends in West Park, New York for an annual Mass for deceased Brothers and former Brothers. An "Edmundian Notes" section in each issue of the C.F.C. Newsletter circulates news of the Society and of individual Edmundians.
"Every Christian, by Baptism, is called to a life of holiness. As Christians empowered by the Spirit, the members respond to this universal call by joining in mutual support and enrichment, to confirm our common heritage in the charism of Edmund Rice, to share our individual and collective spiritual needs, and to deepen our relationship with Christ. ...As Christians motivated by compassion and concern, the Society draws on the considerable resources of the membership in providing appropriate support to benefit former Brothers and their families. This may include career and financial planning as well as personal, marriage, or family counseling. ... Members of the Society endeavor to develop with one another and with the Christian Brothers social bonds, derived from and deepened by the example of Christ's love and friendship for us all."
A 1995 survey by the Edmundian Society reported that former Brothers from North America are in about 40 U.S. States, several Provinces of Canada, and a number of international locales. They are priests, laymen, vowed religious, teachers, and businessmen in many careers, married and single. The survey revealed that many Edmundians are deeply engaged in a multitude of parish and community services, and sixty percent stated that they had been engaged in some form of religious education. With all members worldwide of the "Edmund Rice Family," these men rejoiced in the beatification of Edmund Rice, a man who dedicated his life to living, and spreading the Gospel message as: a husband, a father, a widower, a single parent, a businessman, a religious Brother, a Founder of two religious congregations, and a senior citizen beset by many difficulties.
Robert M. Kman
Chairman of the Board
The Edmundian Society
139 Cosman Street
Twp. of Washington, NJ 07675
Br. John Jerry McCarthy
33 Pryer Terrace
New Rochelle, NY 10804
(914) 636 6194 , ext. 25
Fax (914) 636 0021