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 Founder of the Congregation was Blessed Edmund Rice. Blessed Edmund Ignatius Rice was born a Catholic, in Callan, County Kilkenny, Ireland in 1762 and died in Waterford, Ireland in 1844. He was a wealthy businessman, a widower and parent. As a young man, Edmund went to work in his uncle's business. Edmund's talents and abilities allowed him to transform the business and eventually assume its ownership. At a time when most of the Irish people were extremely poor and living under repressive laws, Edmund Rice became a wealthy and influential member of the city of Waterford.
Edmund seemed to have everything going for him, financial security, a prospering business, and a happy marriage. But in 1789, his wife died in a tragic accident and his world seemed to have turned upside-down. Edmund struggled to find meaning in his wife's death and heard the Word of God in the poor, uneducated, marginalized young boys of Ireland. Edmund set about to establish Catholic schools at a time when such schools were illegal. He took in those boys everyone thought hopeless. He soon realized that he must attend to all the needs of the boys, not just their education -- the boys needed to be fed, clothed and housed. Gathering about him a few men who shared his vision, Edmund Rice began what seemed to others the impossible task of educating Ireland's poor.
Edmund founded the Congregation of Christian Brothers in 1802 in Waterford, in order to provide quality, Catholic education to the materially poor. The first Brothers came to the United States, to All Saints Grammar School, in 1906 and opened their first school in the United States in Harlem in 1909. The Congregation of Christian Brothers, founded Iona College in 1940.