In 1802, Edmund Rice opened his first school in Waterford. When Edmund Rice looked at the Waterford of 1802 and saw the plight of the poor, his response was daring, bold, imaginative and revolutionary. He established an education system for poor boys where none existed. It was a creative response to a crying need.
Between 1802 and 1820 schools were opened in Waterford, Carrick-on-Suir, Dungarvan, Cork, Dublin, Cappoquin, Limerick and Thurles.
The Edmund Rice Schools Trust is the inheritor of that 211-year tradition. The story of Blessed Edmund Rice has inspired generations of people across the world. Among the values that we cherish from his tradition are his generosity, his courage, his humanity, his love of God’s word in Scripture, , his practical reaching out to the poor and oppressed, and his absolute trust in God’s providence.
In 2008, some of that boldness and daring of Edmund’s response was rediscovered in the launch of the Edmund Rice Schools Trust. In the world of young people new needs emerged and the Congregation of Christian Brothers responded by examining the core message of their schools and discerning a Charter that encompassed that message. Pragmatic and practical, the Congregation also saw the decline in their numbers and an aging profile of their members. Encouraged also by Vatican II they looked to the lay people, the co-workers and supporters of Edmund Rice education.
The Congregation set up a new body, The Edmund Rice Schools Trust, an independent lay Company and recognized Charity. They passed on responsibility for their schools to this new Trust. They also freely gave over their property with their blessing and encouragement to explore new horizons in the charism of Edmund.
It has been a daunting responsibility. Now, over the years since the setting up of this Company we can see that the Edmund Rice schools family and community have risen to the challenge to respond to the needs of young people today.