Edmund Ignatius Rice was born in 1762 in Ireland, and received a good education. He created a successful business in the city of Waterford, supplying ships for long journeys. At the age of 23 he married Mary and together they had a daughter. A wealthy man in 1802, Edmund was increasingly disturbed with the lot of the poor Irish Catholics.
Thirteen years after his wife died, and having provided for his daughter, he sold his business and began a night school for the “Quay” kids of Waterford. Edmund’s first helpers deserted him leaving him desperate, but then two men from his native Callan joined him not only to teach but to help Edmund found a religious order to educate poor boys.
By 1825, Edmund Rice and his team of thirty Christian Brothers were educating, free of charge, 5,500 boys in 12 different towns and cities. Many were then clothed and fed.
Currently, 1,700 Christian Brothers are educators and carers of the poor in twenty-eight countries around the world.