Blessed Edmund Ignatius Rice, 1762 - 1844
His Holiness John Paul II beatified Edmund Ignatius Rice on October 6, 1996, in St. Peter's Square. Speaking of Blessed Edmund Rice, the Pope stated, "Here we have an outstanding model of a true lay apostle and a deeply committed Religious. ... 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.’"
Blessed Edmund Rice was beatified after the Church investigated and recognized a medical miracle that was the result of people praying to the Founder for his intercession with God. The miracle was a recovery from a terminal medical condition that the patient's doctors could not explain.
With beatification, Edmund Rice was declared a "blessed" member of the Church. This allows a limited form of veneration. Another miracle is needed between beatification and canonization, at which time a candidate would be declared a saint.
The late John Cardinal O'Connor, speaking at St. Patrick's Cathedral on September 21, 1996 at a Mass celebrating the beatification of Edmund Rice and the 90th anniversary of the Christian Brothers in the United States stated, ''It would be sad, but it's conceivable that we would not be here if history ended with Edmund Rice's death, but his legacy, his spirit, is so dynamically alive here in the United States today...and certainly, as I can testify, here in New York.''