Edition 5 : March 2002

Greetings all and welcome to this first edition of Edmund Rice News for the Bicentennial Year.

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ERFN07 Oct 2002 (html)
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LATE BREAKING NEWS: NEW CONGREGATIONAL LEADER -- It has just been reported to us that the new Congregational Leader of the Christian Brothers is Br. Philip Pinto of India

Quick Guide to this issue:

Overview: A Year for Celebration

Editorial: Beyond Dreams in Stone

2002 Student Leaders' Conference

Comment: What effect a General Chapter might have on your work

Bicentennial Calendar

News from all around Holy Spirit Province:

News from Edmund Rice Centre, Mirrabooka

An inspiring story of someone who did a lot of things before making a full time commitment as a Brother

Like to teach in Rarotonga?

International Conference Overiew

Reflection: Edmund Rice

THIS YEAR, 2002, IS A YEAR FOR CELEBRATION, ENDEAVOUR, REFLECTION AND PLANNING. This first edition of Edmund Rice Family News for the year illustrates the progress being made in all these areas already.

CELEBRATIONS: Plans are well underway for the celebrations at the local, regional, province, national and international levels and in some places the corks have already been popped. Two hundred years of any endeavour is worth celebrating. We pay tribute to all those who have made the Edmund Rice dream a reality and we pay tribute to Edmund Rice himself .

ENDEAVOURS: There have already been some exciting things happening over the summer break and in this edition of Edmund Rice Family News we'd like to bring you up to date with what others in the family have been doing.

REFLECTION: One doesn't need to be an Einstein to work out that the world and the Church is moving through a time of significant adjustment at the moment. It is a time to be learning from the past; to be applying our wisdom to the present; and to be keeping our eye on the future. The Brothers will be shortly publishing a history of the Christian Brother's Colleges in Western Australia 1894-2000. Br Kevin Paull wrote it and it is likely to cause a lot of interest because he doesn't pull any punches.

PLANNING: The BIG event this year that will impact on the work of the Edmund Rice Family into the future is the General Chapter of the Christian Brothers to be held in Rome in a few weeks. A new international leadership team will be elected and this is the forum where the endeavours of the Edmund Rice international family are discussed and affirmed.

  Edition 5: Mar 2002

Beyond Dreams in Stone...

Brian Coyne reviews a new history to be published in a few month's time. Beyond Dreams in Stone is the work of historian and Christian Brother, Kevin Paull.

IF ANY BLOKE could be described as having an innate understanding of Australia Br Kevin Paull would have to go close. Born and raised in Kalgoorlie, Kevin's grandparents and parents breathed the air of the Goldfields for most of the 20th Century. Kevin himself became a Christian Brother with a passionate interest in the history of his nation. When he retired as Principal of Aquinas College in 1999, and from 40 years of teaching, he devoted his energies to writing as objective an account as he could of the history of Christian Brothers' Colleges in Western Australia from their foundation in 1894.

Br Kevin Paull cfc
It is difficult enough for any person to try and summarize their own hopes, dreams, disappointments, mistakes and achievements of a lifetime. This book is much more than that. Br Kevin Paull is trying to summarize the hopes, dreams, disappointments, mistakes and achievements of the hundreds of Christian Brothers, and tens of thousands of their students and parents, in an endeavour over a whole century that made a significant contribution to defining who we are as West Australians. What he has written tries to capture the changing nature of the challenges faced by Western Australians, and Western Australian Catholics over the century. When the Christian Brothers came to WA at the end of the 19th Century, there was little in the way of education available to boys, and particularly Catholic boys. Catholics were looked down upon as a sub-class in this colony from the outset and made up just 7% of the population. In the middle of the 19th century their numbers grew to 25% of the population through transportation of convicts, Irish political prisoners and the importation of "needle girls" as prospective brides and a source of domestic labour for the established settlers.

He endeavours to give us an understanding of the forces shaping our society and the tensions within the Church and the surrounding society as parents and the Church endeavoured to compete and carve a better future for themselves and their offspring. There can be little doubt that they succeeded in their wider aim. Catholics today do take their place in Australian society in full dignity and equality with all other Australians. Much of their work has been able to be handed over to highly trained lay teachers. The Brothers have begun to search for new areas of endeavour where the selfless spirit of Edmund Rice can lift those on the margins to similar standards of dignity. The last two paragraphs of his book summarize the challenge well...

“IN HIS DAY Rice's schools brought faith where there was cynicism, hope where there was bitterness and despair, and compassion where there was brutality and anger. Asked what she thought was the greatest achievement of Clontarf Aboriginal College, Principal Donella Brown, nominated the way some of the students return to the remote communities from which they came and become teacher assistants, teachers and health workers. 'They are,' she says, 'giving other people the confidence to better their own quality of life.'”

“In ways like this the Christian Brothers have been able to reach beyond their dreams in stone. In a remote community, in the Western Australian outback, two hundred years after he opened his first school, the work of the merchant of Waterford still touches the lives of others.”

Beyond Dreams in Stone will be released in a few month's time. It is a “must read” publication for any person seeking to understand the Edmund Rice ethos and the forces and tensions within the Church and within wider society that helped turn an Irish dream into an international reality.


Casey Byers is head girl at Catholic Agricultural College, Bindoon. Following is her report of the inaugural Conference for Student Leaders in Edmund Rice Colleges held in Melbourne in January.

DURING THE CHRISTMAS HOLIDAYS I attended a Leadership Conference at St Kevin's College in Toorak, Melbourne from the 24th to the 27th of January. It was the first ever gathering of head students from Edmund Rice Colleges throughout Australia. These conferences aimed at developing young leaders who have been given the responsibility of leading their college throughout the year of 2002.

I arrived on the Thursday afternoon and once at St Kevin's we played a few introductory games to get to know each other's names etc. Every State except the Northern Territory was represented by one student or more. As there were only two females we were billeted with the deputy principal of St Kevin's. After dinner in the pavilion we went to our billets.

Friday consisted of a conference in the morning which included speeches from special guests and ex- St Kevin's captains and students. Hearing the information from people who had just been through the leadership thing made it easier to comprehend and they were able to understand where we were coming from as well. After lunch we were given free time. I went shopping in Chapel Street.

Friday night was the most amazing experience of the whole conference. We were split into groups and sent off in Soup Vans to feed the disadvantaged people throughout Melbourne. We were situated near one of the Train Stations and after speaking to a man I realised that he was so inspirational because he had nothing, but he was still talking about his dreams of travelling to Queensland one day and he still had a smile on his face.

Saturday involved conferencing in the morning and coverage of the Edmund Rice ways and values and how we can instill them into the way we lead the College and students. We also discussed the good and bad points of our colleges and how, in 2002, we think we will be able to improve them. An ex- captain gave us a talk on how vital the student and staff support is, to set goals, to be professional by gaining background information before presenting an idea and to foster respect. We all wrote down our thoughts, goals, etc on paper and these will be sent to us in about three weeks to see if we are still on that path. This concluded the interaction conferences.

That afternoon we took a tour around Melbourne on the Ambrose Treacy Trail that includes orphanages, St Patrick's Cathedral, Captain Cook's cottage and the old Parade College.

Before our concluding dinner a tree was planted using the soil samples that each student had bought from their college. A member of the parliament delivered a speech that evening. After saying farewell to all the staff and the organisers, the students all met up at Chapel Street to celebrate Australia Day.

The following day I was given a tour through South Street, the casino and the markets by the family I was billeted with before flying home. For a group of 30 people who didn't know each other, we became all very close, and hope to have a reunion next year to see how our leadership roles turned out. For the students, they found it comforting to have a support system of people in the same position as them. I gained a lot from the conference because it was mainly presented by people who had just been through the whole leadership experience.

What effect a General Chapter might have on your work

by Br Pat Kelly cfc

Conference Logo
For updates go to
THERE CAN BE LITTLE DOUBT that the most far reaching event this year on the work of the Christian Brothers is likely to be the meeting of the General Chapter which is being held at the moment in Rome. In line with changes in the governance of many organisations in the Western world today, the working of a General Chapter today is far more transparent than it used to be in the past. The Christian Brothers, like any organisation, is a living, breathing entity. It is a dynamic organisation with many people in many different fields of human activity in diverse geographical locations around the world. All organisations and families required a defined leadership firstly for legal reasons. Someone has to take responsibility for the assets and decisions of the organisation. These days though, all effective organisations also see that the governance of an organisation is a means of giving voice to the hopes, vision, charism and aspirations of people at all levels in the organisation.

The preparations that have gone on towards the holding of this General Chapter have perhaps been the most open in the whole history of the work begun by Blessed Edmund. Since the last General Chapter in 1995 the world has changed quite significantly and, in many respects, so has the work of the Christian Brothers, been changing. In the lead-up to the General Chapter there has been wide consultation including the election of delegates from all the Provinces around the world. (From Holy Spirit Province, the three delegates attending the General Chapter of the Christian Brothers Congregation in Rome on our behalf at the moment are the Province Leader, Br Tony Shanahan, and Brs Kevin Ryan and Gerry Faulkner. For the first ten days in Rome they will also be joined by Richard Mavros, Donella Brown and ten other reps from the wider Edmund Rice Family throughout the world.)

On both sides of the General Chapter, the provinces around the world will be holding Province Chapter meetings. In some cases these were held before the General Chapter and in others they will be held later in the year. These have been part of the formal mechanism for setting the agenda for the International Chapter and will also be part of the mechanism by which the consensus of the international Edmund Rice Family as reflected through the General Chapter is communicated back to the widely scattered grass-roots of our family.

In the Holy Spirit Province we have three important formal mechanisms for feedback once the International Chapter has concluded. A Province Day will be held on South Australia on 21 April and in Western Australia on 27 April so that the delegates can report back. Between 10-17 July, the Province Chapter will be held where 15 delegates plus the Province Leadership Team will meet. On this occasion an important part of the agenda of the Province Chapter is to be considering how the directions discerned at the international level are given practical meaning in our part of the world.

The occasions of the meeting of the General and National Province Chapters are also when elections take place for the new International and Province Leadership teams who take the legal and governance responsibility of ensuring that the family carries out the vision that has been discerned through this whole process of consultation and delegation of responsibility.

Br Pat Kelly cfc is a member of the Holy Spirit Province Leadership Team and one of the alternate delegates to the International Chapter had any of the main delegates not been able to attend for any reason.


News from all around Holy Spirit Province...

International Eddie Rice Leaders meet at Moore River

EDDIE RICE CAMP LEADERS from Ireland, New Zealand and Australia attended Edmund Rice Camps in the Australian provinces in January before themselves assembling at Moore River, W.A., for their own conference from Jan 29th to Feb 3rd. Richard Mavros did most of the organising assisted by local volunteers Kathleen, Jill and Tina along with some of the Brothers. Richard has been quite ecstatic in his email messages to participants since the conclusion of the conference. Here is a sample:

"What an event -- gathering! I really am unable to put into words what it has meant for me. When we as a Conference team talk about it we go a bit gah gah and lose track of which part we are talking about. For me just to have been around you all -- in an environment filled with sparks of life, hopes and dreams was truly lifegiving. I can't thank each of you enough."

"It really was an extraordinary gathering of amazing young people -- just to be near to that spark-filled environment renewed my hope that there is still a flood of young people signing up to fight the good fight. In the Church world it can too often be about whether or not people say the right things, label their actions with the right amount of religious fervour for people to support them in their works. Yet for young people growing up in today's crazy society, jam packed with distracting messages at every turn -- for them to still be keen to take that journey is amazing. And it is wonderful that at a place like ERC they can be supported in that process. They feel they still have a choice -- they are not slaves to the system -- that must be one of the greatest gifts ERC can give to young people."

To view all the photos plus others click anywhere in the photo strip above or here

An affirming story...

HERE IS A MESSAGE received by one member of our family working with kids on the margins in one of the Edmund Rice facilities:

Young Billy (not his real name) had just started with us after not attending school for three terms of 2001. I'm in daily contact with his Mum and Dad. They cannot believe the change in him in just eight days with us. They said: "He chats with us, he talks about his day, he's eating better, he takes himself off to bed at reasonable hours, and we don't have to throw a bucket of water on him to get him out of bed. We don't know what you people do, but we do know the program works. We wish we had known about it earlier."

Board Development Days in Adelaide and Perth

BOARD DEVELOPMENT DAYS were conducted on successive Sundays last year -- October 21st at Westcourt and October 28th at CBC Adelaide. Gerry Faulkner ran the opening session on clarifying the focus of what our schools are really about. This was followed by an exchange of "best practice" in Edmund Rice Schools. After lunch, Cathy Tesoriero in Perth and Noel Mifsud in Adelaide, gave inspirational addresses on what they had garnered about Edmund Rice from their recent TRASNA studies in Ireland. The final session kicked off with a role play which made board members look at the underlying philosophy of the budgeting process and how this affects access to our schools.

Australian Child Migrant Tracing Service

IN JANUARY-FEBRUARY OF THIS YEAR Joan Kerry (pictured at right with Province Leader, Br Tony Shanahan) spent six weeks in WA interviewing and meeting former child migrants who are still trying to trace their families in the UK. Joan, herself from Britain, has worked there with the Child Migrant Trust. She has been contracted for a three year period by the Australian Bishops and Leaders of Religious Orders which conducted institutions for Child Migrants. While in Perth Joan worked from the C-BERSS (Christian Brothers Ex Residents and Students Service) Office. Some of the former Child Migrants arranged for her to travel to the south west and to Bindoon and Tardun. She also spent a day at Westcourt with Br Tony, Josette, our archivist, and some of the C-BERSS staff.

Edmund Rice Scholarship Awards...

THE CHRISTIAN BROTHERS HAVE ANNOUNCED that the following people have been awarded Edmund Rice Scholarships for travel to Ireland in July 2002 to take part in the TRASNA program: Adela Lock (Rostrevor), Gerry McCarthy (Rostrevor), Mark Wolowski (Aquinas), Joe Audino (Aquinas), Don McNamee (CBC Fremantle). They will join 45 others from around the world. This will be the sixth year that this innovative program has been held.

2001 Trasna participants including
Donella Brown (Clontarf - centre of photo)
in a cornfield in Ballygriffin, July 2001
The word Trasna is an Irish work which signifies "movement across". Implied in this is the idea of change and action. At the heart of the program is an invitation to move from our present way of thought and action to a radical transformation of how we think and act.

The goals of Trasna are firstly to facilitate a process in which the members of the spiritual families of Edmund Rice and Nano Nagle come in touch with the living spirit which inspired the hearts and actions of Nano and Edmund. Secondly, Trasna draws participants into insights, motivations and skills to seek new ways of responding to the needs of people who struggle with injustice and poverty and the meaning and purpose of life.

The program focuses on a contemporary understanding of the vision of Edmund and Nano. Reflections on the life journeys of the founders is the impetus for the course participants to touch their own lives. The elements of Trasna are pilgrimage, prayer, reflection, discernment and celebration. The program is organised by the Presentation Sisters, the Presentation Brothers, the Christian Brothers and Associates.

FAME program in SA steadingly achieving its aims...

THE FAME PROGRAM IN SA is full with five young women and three young men plus a waiting list of about five more. Two of the participants in the program last year have gone on to full-time employment, one is re-entering TAFE and one is awaiting acceptance into an 8-week "job ready" course. FAME stands for Flexible And Mobile Education.

Vale Brian "I always will remain a Brother at heart" Cassidy

We regret to bring you the news that Brian Cassidy whose story was featured in the last edition of Edmund Rice Family News passed away on the 19th January. Brian was a former Christian Brother who had been struggling with ill-health for many years. The tribute at left is taken from the words penned by Kathleen Bacich and read at his funeral. It captures a lot of Brian's indefatigable spirit.

It must have been a special day when Brian Cassidy was born.
A light has shone from heaven and will guide us now we mourn.
But now a far brighter star shines along the heavenly way.
That light will shine forever it is truly there to stay.

His faith and love of God was evident in his life.
And those who knew him loved him -- and even if in strife
He taught us how to laugh through all the thick and thin.
And when anything needed fixing we'd just call Brian in!

Brian gave his "ALL" in everything he did.
He taught us how to live by the way that he lived,
He worked so hard and was happy with life.
He loved his children and Norma his wife.
He was such an example of true faith and love
Always confident and trusting in the Lord above. 

UPASNA -- an "enriching" experience in India for Michael Hanrahan

Highlight of UPASNA - Rishikesh
MICHAEL HANRAHAN is another of those long time pilgrims on the Edmund Rice journey. When I rang him a few days ago to find out about his recent experiences in India on UPASNA, I found out he's another old-boy of Aquinas from around my era in the 1960s. He's been teaching at Aquinas now for the past 13 years. (Director of Society & Environment in the Middle School, RE for Year 11 and Geography in Yrs 11 and 12.) The UPASNA experience is a cross-cultural program that has been running for a number of years for religious in India. As part of the bicentenary celebrations this year, a number of places were made available for members of the wider Edmund Rice Family. Michael was one of three international participants on the month-long program that ran from 21 January to 21 February. The program incorporates pilgrimage, prayer, reflection, discernment and liturgies. The highlight of the program for Michael was the pilgrimage from Delhi (where the main part of the program was held) to Rishikesh in the foothills of the Himalayas where they spent five days visiting both a Catholic and a Hindu Ashram. He said "it was fascinating getting the Hindu perspective on what they thought of Christianity" and how the two religious systems might relate to one another. Other elements of the program he mentioned included workshops on Scripture and Life by Br Dermot Barrett, "six solid days spent looking at ego and self in a spirtual awareness program run by Jesuit, Fr Tony De Souza", and reflections on the four directions being discussed at the General Chapter in Rome at the moment.

Michael's advice for anyone else who might be considering this program next year is "Go for it. It is just a wonderful experience. It forced me to reflect deeply on my life journey -- where I've been and where I'm going." ...BMC

Tell the rest of the Edmund Rice Community what’s happening in your sector. Send your stories to Pat Kelly or Brian Coyne. If you have photos, logos or graphics all the better.

News from the Edmund Rice Centre, Mirrabooka...

Br Steve Bowman reports the Edmund Rice Centre is as busy as ever. The following is a summary of news and a number of opportunities where you might like to assist Refugee Families.

Adult Classes for Refugees...

OUR CLASSES IN ENGLISH, COMPUTER STUDIES AND VARIOUS ARTS AND CRAFTS continue to be well attended with approximately 152 currently enrolled. This year, thanks to the generosity of Mrs Lorraine McGinniss, a volunteer teacher at the Centre, and Mrs Lyn Cox we are offering a "Women's Coffee Morning" on Saturdays from 10.00am - 12.00noon. The main aim of these "mornings" is to provide the opportunity for women from Refugee backgrounds to enjoy the friendship of other women and to practice their English conversation in a friendly and informal atmosphere. Any female members of the Edmund Rice Family who would like to come along would be very welcome. We are also looking for a couple of people to "child-mind" the younger children who come along with their mothers. If you would like more information please ring the Centre on 9440 0625.

Refugee Youth Leisure Program...

LEISURE ACTIVITIES FOR YOUTH continue to be offered every Wednesday afternoon and Saturday morning. Recently, the Centre purchased a second hand 22 Seat Coaster Bus from Mercy College, Koondoola. The larger bus will help alleviate the problem of having to transport an ever-increasing number of young people to various leisure facilities. Sadly we recently farewelled Melanie Van Hek our Social Worker who had been involved with the program since it began in October 1998. Melanie has been offered a full-time position with her work in Midland and is therefore unable to commit to two positions. In her place we welcome Melita Wilson who has been an Edmund Rice Camp leader for a number of years and has been involved with the Leisure program as a volunteer while completing her Diploma in Youth Work. Melita is currently studying Social Work at Curtin University. We are also fortunate to have a very dedicated team of volunteers who come along each week to be with the young people and I know that the Refugee Youth really value this service.

Material support wanted to Refugee Families

LAST YEAR THE CENTRE ASSISTED 147 REFUGEE FAMILIES AND INDIVIDUALS by providing donated household goods. Mrs Betty O'Neill continues to work very hard sorting and packing the items donated to the Centre for distribution to families. A big "thanks" to the large network of supporters who collect and donate goods needed to establish a home: crockery, cutlery, cooking utensils, bed linen and furniture. Currently, we could do with more crockery and cutlery, so if you are having a late "spring clean" please feel free to give us a call at the Centre on 9440 0625. We do collect from your home if required. Thankyou.

Picnic Day at Point Walter for Unaccompanied Refugees

The Edmund Rice Centre recently held a family picnic at Point Walter. It was an opportunity to provide support for a group of unaccompanied young people. These are young people under the age of 18 who have arrived by themselves in Australia on Temporary Protection Visas. For full photo coverage of the day click on the photo or here.

Tell the rest of the Edmund Rice Community what’s happening in your sector. Send your stories to Pat Kelly or Brian Coyne. If you have photos, logos or graphics all the better.

An inspiring story of someone who did a lot of other things in life before making a full-time commitment as a Brother...

John Colyer as soldier
JOHN COLYER was the first born to Jack Cyril & Marjorie Colyer, on the 2nd of November 1924 in the little village of Tunbridge in Kent England. He was to be followed into the world by his sister, Joan, some 18 months later. His second sister died as a baby from cot death. John had a happy childhood growing up in a time of peace between two wars. When the time came for him to start his education he was sent to York House College, a well known Church of England School. Here he stayed till he completed his secondary education at the age of 17. While he was at York, England declared war on Germany and this was to influence John's life considerably. He did what thousands of young men and women of his day felt obliged to do and volunteered to join the forces of her Majesty the Queen to defend his country. He was successful and soon after he completed his training he became a Royal marine assigned to the Combined Operations under the leadership of Lord Mount Batten. In his four years of service he distinguished himself with Honour and was awarded the Burma Star for his Bravery under fire as a landing craft driver in the Malay campaign under the famous General Slim, later to become Governor General of Australia. At the end of the war he was stood down from the forces and returned to civilian life. He then decided to continue his Education and enrolled at Trinity College London where he graduated with a Licentiate (a music degree) and a Teachers Diploma. It was during this time that he started to seriously think of joining the Catholic Church and so became a convert in 1947 just as famous men like Cardinal Newman and Ambrose St John had done before him. He continued his studies at St. Nicholas' Training Centre in London graduating with a Montessori Teacher Diploma, which was no mean feat in those days. His first full time job came soon after as a music teacher to the handicapped at the Bromham Institute in Bedford England. Little did he know this desire to minister to the more needy of our society was to be an important part of his life journey. In September 1950 he found himself Teaching at St Gabriel's College London except for a short time teaching at Saint Laurensur Serre in France.

It was about this time that his family decided to migrate to Western Australia and did so in 1953. John had intended to follow them out soon after but circumstances conspired to prevent this. John developed a close friendship with Father Cholet while at St. Gabriel and became a life long friend who was to have a big influence on his life. It was he that convinced him to move to Canada, which he did in 1960. There he taught with the Viatorin Fathers in Ontario. It was not long before John felt a personal call to serve the African Missions in the Rivuma Region where he stayed for three years in Likonda Junior Seminary run by the Benedictines in Tanzania. He returned to Canada in 1968 at the invitation of his old friend Father Cholet to teach at Bourget College Regaud, Quebec. Two years later in 1970 he followed his good friend who was appointed Headmaster of St Viateur College Montreal. Father appointed John head of the "English as a Second Language" Department where he flourished for thirteen years. During this productive time of his life he also found time to lecture in ESL at McGill University which he did successfully for nine years.

John's band in a recent performance
It was about this time when he decided to try his hand at becoming a permanent Deacon and to this end he joined 50 other young men in the local Seminary under the famous Father John Main. God had other plans for John however and while in training he was guided to the possibility of joining a religious Order. As a teacher he looked round for a Teaching Order, thus the Christian Brothers Order attracted him and to this end he made moves to join this body of men in Canada. Keeping in mind that his family had moved out to Australia in 1953 he was encouraged by his Mother to come to Australia and join the order here. This he did in 1980 spending Christmas with his Mother whom he had not seen for more than 27 years. Early 1981 he became a postulant and then Novice under the caring Br. Terry Casey. He made his first Profession the following year and joined the Aquinas community. Through the 80s he was to be stationed at St Marks, Trinity College and Castledare where he taught English and Music. While at St Marks John started a small Band, which was named The Marksmen youth band. From these small beginnings sprang a marvelous apostolate which he continues today. The holiday periods see John and his small group of boys and girls go out to nursing homes and retirement Villages and perform for the elderly, a service that is much appreciated. During the Term he provides the same service himself visiting anything up to four venues per week. He is much loved and respected in the Perth area. One of the highlights of year was the performance of the Band in the Rayne Square for the International Children Week. Today, at 77, he carries on the good work though he is not getting any younger. He has become well known for helping the young ones in his band who need special one to one assistance and many a young student has gone on to do very well at Universities and TAFE thanks to his personal guidance and tuition.

Tonight we salute you John and say well done on a life well lived. It is a privilege to know you and may God give you many happy and healthy years yet.

The foregoing is taken from an address given by Br Peter Thrupp on the occasion of the 20th Anniversary of John Colyer's profession.

Bicentennial Web addresses...

For further information visit the following websites:
International website: www.edmundrice2002.com
National Committee website: www.edmundrice.org
Province website: www.westcourt.wa.edu.au

To add your name to the email list:

This year the hard-copy edition of Edmund Rice News will be published three times but the email edition will be published each month. The hard copy edition is for archival purposes and for community reception areas and for those who do not have access to email. It will contain a summary of what is published in the email edition. Costs are largely what dictate this editorial change. It costs us literally cents in distribution costs to send out an email edition to as many people as we like. Each hard copy edition costs in the order of $1 per copy for distribution.

We do need to build up our email database. To make sure you receive the email edition in colour send your email address to briancoyne@viastuas.net.au. Let us know if you would like to receive the full email in html format – i.e. with all photographs and graphics – or a text message directing you to a website where it can be viewed through a web browser such as Internet Explorer or Netscape Navigator.

Can you help:
Teach in Rarotonga

Br Frank Perkins, Principal of Nukutera College (enrolment 140) in Rarotonga (Cook Islands) is fairly desperate for teachers in the areas of Science and Maths up to Year 11 and Accounting for Years 11 and 12.

He says that the teaching load would be about half a day and the salary between $NZ15-20,000.

Expenses are very small and teaching would be a great missionary service on this idyllic Pacific Island.

Br Frank's email address is: brothers@oyster.net.ck

Australian to deliver Keynote address at International Bicentenary Conference in Dublin

The central international bicentenary event this year occurs in Dublin over the weekend of 5-7 April 2002 at the conclusion of the General Chapter and at a break point in the Edmund Rice International Pilgrimages.

Frank Andersen MSC
The keynote speaker will be well known Australian writer, liturgist, facilitator and musician, Fr Frank Andersen MSC. His topic will be, There seemed to be a fire burning in my heart (Jeremiah 20:9) -- Edmund's Prophetic Challenge Today.

The presentation will explore aspects of finding our Prophetic Identity within a contemporary Church, while remaining true to the tradition of Edmund Rice.

Well known for his compositions and recordings, which include the albums On Eagles' Wings and Rising Moon, Frank is also the author of Jesus -- Our Story. He has extensive experience in adult faith formation, including the Edmund Rice Staff Faith Formation Programme developed in Melbourne for Christian Brothers' schools and ministries. Frank will also present workshops on Eucharist as part of the afternoon's programme. Other workshop presenters in the RDS Concert Hall on April 6th include:

Michael Paul Gallagher SJ, Irish Jesuit priest and lecturer, will take as his workshop topic Culture and Youth: towards a ministry of imagination.

Seán Ó Duinn OSB, a lecturer in Irish Heritage Studies at Limerick University, will present workshops on Celtic Spirituality.

Edwina Gateley, currently writing and leading retreats for abused and marginalised women in the United States, will take workshops entitled Mysticism on the Margins.

Mark Hederman, a lecturer in philosophy and literature, will explore the place of art in Christian mystery in two workshops entitled The Door into the Dark of our Past and Future.

Peter Nicholson cfc
Formation Coordinator for the Edmund Rice Family in Australia, Peter Nicholson, will present a workshop entitled Put out into the Deep: Towards an Understanding of the Edmund Rice Family Movement.

Anne Primavesi will structure her workshops around the topic, The Future is Earth-shaped!.

Danah Zohar will offer insights into the scientific evidence for SQ or Spiritual Intelligence and argue that it is the ultimate intelligence needed for the new millennium.

Lastly, the Nagle Rice Vocation Group will present a workshop entitled Vocation Ministry; Awakening a New Enthusiasm for God's Call to Religious Life, and will draw on their recent experiences in Ferdinand, Indiana, as a basis for insight and dialogue.

The conference gets underway on Friday, April 5th, with an official welcome reception and multicultural event in the RDS Concert Hall. The weekend's activities will conclude on Sunday, April 7th with a Eucharist Liturgy.

Further information on the Share the Vision conference is available at the IBC website www.edmundrice2002.com. The detailed final announcement flier, with registration and booking forms, will be released mid December 2001.

The painting of Edmund Rice
with his daughter, Mary,
is from
an exhibition on the
national Edmund Rice web site
by Tasmanian painter, Br Hugh
Sharpe of Hobart
il on Canvas (60x76) cms. 1991.
Photography. Jack Higgins, cfc]


It was in the mid-1980s, while I was studying in Rome and living with another religious order of Brothers, that I really began to appreciate how special Edmund Rice was.

In that student community in Rome there were men from all over the world, particularly Europe and South America. The vast majority had never heard of Edmund Rice, yet they sat up and took notice when I began to talk a little about Edmund's life.

They were surprised that he was a layman. They were even more surprised that he had been married and fathered a child. Their surprise made me surprised!

Was this so unusual? Evidently it was quite unusual for a male religious order to be founded not by a priest, but by a layman. I began to think that perhaps I had taken too much in Edmund's story for granted.

They say that familiarity breeds contempt. In the case of Edmund Rice, it is certainly true that familiarity with his story can often lead to complacency and staleness. I began to see that the life and genius of Edmund Ignatius Rice was something of a well-kept secret.

Edmund himself probably has to take a little of the blame for this. Not being a priest, he had no formal background in theology and philosophy. He wrote no treatises on the spiritual life. He left no spiritual journal. In regard to his own inner life, he was a reticent and private man.

All of this makes more difficult the task of understanding not just what Edmund did, but the person who did it.

The great strides forward in the historical research on the life and times of Edmund Rice have certainly helped us in knowing Edmund Rice the man. We have moved beyond the older versions of Edmund's life that sometimes had more to do with hagiography than real understanding. As we see Edmund more clearly in the historical context of his time, we are helped to understand more vividly the significance of what he did and the magnitude of his achievements.

But we need not only to read about Edmund and to understand the facts of his life, we need to encounter the person, to see into his heart and soul. In doing this we can share something of his spirituality and be moved and inspired by the love of God and neighbour which motivated him.

For too long, the religious orders that Edmund founded, the Christian Brothers and the Presentation Brothers, have tended to act as if Edmund was their private property and of no real interest beyond their ranks and those of their students. The Beatification of Edmund in 1996 is a clear signal that Edmund Rice was a man of holiness and revolutionary goodness. He is a gift for all people.

Br Tony Shanahan, ctc
Province Leader Holy Spirit Province (WA & SA)

This reflection is taken from the forward to God is in the Ordinary by Teresa Pirola.


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