Edition 8: March 2003

Greetings all and welcome to this autumn edition of Edmund Rice News for 2003.

ERFN05 March 2002 (html)
ERFN06 June 2002 (html)
ERFN07 Oct 2002 (html)
ERFN09 June 2003 (html)


Quick Guide to this issue:

Special Report: The Cause of Blessed Edmund Rice -- update on the process for Canonisation

  Lent – a time of renewal
Editorial: Seeking New Brothers

10 Days in Ireland with Hilary Musgrave
  and Monica Brown

Celebrate Eddie's Birthday at Ollys' Workshop
Can you support Olly's Workshop also?
www.edmundrice,org - an important resource
January 2003 camps at Moore River
Discerning our sense of mission
 a request for assistance from Br Rod

Edmund Rice Volunteer going to Tanzania
 an uplifting interview with Kelsey Wilson

Responsibilities of New PLT members

What Br Tony's up to?
Mark Walawski's TRASNA Report
Indigenous Ministries - Marlene Jackamarra
Fr Michael Lapsley in Perth
Reflection: Edmund Rice
To add your name to the email list
  click here

Lent – a time of renewal

Lent is a time of renewal. Its name is actually taken from an ancient word for the season Spring or Lencten. It is a time when we are invited to re-connect with our roots.

It is a particularly appropriate time to be bringing out this first edition of Edmund Rice Family News for 2003. The new Province Leadership Team has had to time to find its feet and adjust the sails for the new conditions facing the Christian Brothers and the Edmund Rice Family today.

Br Pat Kelly has taken on new responsibilities liaising with the many ministries working under the Edmund Rice umbrella and Br Rod Ellyard has taken over responsibility for publishing the Brothers’ Newsletter and Edmund Rice Family News which has a wider circulation to everyone working in Edmund Rice endeavours in the Holy Spirit Province. (See the separate article of the responsibilities of the PLT members.)

Br Rod has written the editorial for this issue. In that, and in the other articles that make up this edition, one begins to pick up a sense of the renewed enthusiasm sweeping through the Edmund Rice Family. The international Chapter in Rome this time last year has sparked a resurgence of interest in the charism of “being Brother” to others. As Rod writes in this editorial, the Christian Brothers are “open for business” again after the long and tortuous years of self-examination.

The world might be a very different to what it was in 1802 when Edmund Rice established the Brothers. While our general affluence has increased what has remained constant is that there are never enough volunteers to be assisting those who, for one reason or another, are in need. One of the seven “heart decisions” taken at the Congregation Chapter in Rome was “the imperative of seeking new Brothers”. In this edition of Edmund Rice Family News we throw this question open to all members of the Family.

Spend 10 days in the ancient Celtic Landscape of Ireland. Breathe in its depths, touch its sacredness, smell its beauty, stand in its richness and solitude and know within yourself the call to fullness of life. Sing, dance, pray and be silent, imagine and reflect in quiet places, ancient cities and sacred sites, that will give you space to know the longings of your own heart and time to let the search for meaning shape the way you live.

Hilary Musgrave and Monica Brown will facilitate a 10 day pilgrimage that will take you to Glendalough, Newgrange, Waterford, Carlow and Kildare, visiting ancient ruins, old burial sites, high crosses, holy wells, medieval cities and sacred places. Through music, song, story and myth, dance, mime, imagery and scripture-storytelling, Hilary and Monica will invite you to listen to your own story in this Celtic Landscape where you can come home to yourself and to your God.

Accompanying us on the journey through the Celtic Landscape will be Irish story tellers, celtic singers, historians and Irish dancers.
Guest presenters will include Michael Rogers from Glendalough, Mary Minihan from St Brigid's Centre Kildare.

When: 10th August 2003 - 20th August 2003
Where: Based in Teach Bhride, Retreat Centre, Tullow, Co. Carlow.
Cost: $1580 approx (Includes accommodation and meals, all pilgrimage travel, entrance fees to sites and presenters fees.)
For bookings and further information contact: croi-ruah@iol.ie

To add your name to the email list:

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.

  Edition 8: Mar 2003

Seeking New Brothers...

by Br Rod Ellyard cfc

Br Rod Ellyard cfc

The Christian Brothers Congregation Chapter met in Rome through March 2002. For over a year in preparation, the whole Congregation tried to listen prayerfully to what God was saying to us at this time in our history. Weakened by dwindling numbers and aging members, and shamed by the exposure of the sins of some of our members, many among us were feeling disheartened.

At the Chapter, like the two forlorn disciples on the road to Emmaus, our Brothers shared their stories, their hopes and their dreams. As they did so, it gradually began to dawn on them that in their midst walked One who was opening their eyes to the gift which had been theirs from the beginning, the precious gift of brotherhood that makes us who we are. They discovered anew that relating truly as brothers is our distinctive way of living and loving. The flame in their hearts began to burn more strongly and brightly as they listened deeply to Jesus alive within them.

From this prayerful listening they discerned seven 'heart decisions' that charted the road ahead. These were:

  1. Deepening the Spirituality of Being Brother,
  2. A Need and a Call for Healing and Reconciliation,
  3. The Imperative of Seeking New Brothers,
  4. The Enduring Importance to us of Educating the Minds and Hearts of the Young,
  5. The Unfolding Story of the Edmund Rice Network,
  6. A Prophetic Call to a Quest for Justice, and
  7. An Urgent Need to Transform Hearts and Minds by Restructuring our Congregation.

It is hardly surprising that, fired anew with the awareness of and enthusiasm for, the beauty and transforming nature of this precious gift of brotherhood, the Chapter should issue a call for new Brothers. This call should not be interpreted as a desire to reverse the trend towards smallness of membership, so much as a realisation, that we have something special we want to share. Our source of life is a particular kind of relationship with our God and our brothers. It is modelled on Jesus' relationship with his Father, and rooted in our celibacy and it enables us to walk with those most in need.

Increasingly, it is with those most in need that our brothers are found. The days of our power and prestige have been stripped away. We do not invite new members to join us to become important, influential people. We invite them to come to be Jesus' hands serving the poor. We invite them to come to live with us as brothers, open and sharing, ready to risk all for love – love of Jesus expressed in his needy ones. Never has there been such need! Never has the world needed Brothers so much!

In Perth last July, our Province Chapter sought to build on what had emerged in Rome. This was how we expressed OUR DREAM.

  • At this time in our story we are, more than ever, called to live our brotherhood as a 'precious gift' to us and to others, especially those most in need.
  • We recognise that 'being brother' is to live as Jesus and Edmund did, with hearts open to each other and our world in compassion, with hearts willing to bear pain and be broken for love.
  • To be brother is to walk with others in a way of solidarity. It is a calling, not a job, a relationship, not a title. It is an attitude of heart that is anchored in our celibate loving.
  • Our willingness to give to every person, especially each Brother, the gift of our self in Gospel friendship, opens the way for a mutual sharing of gifts, and makes possible real community.
  • Being Brother is our way of seeking God, and is nourished by solitude with God and by a readiness to encounter Christ as we walk the road of life in conversation with each other.
  • We are convinced of the relevance of brotherhood as a gift for our world, and seek to invite others to share this gift with us, especially as new members of the congregation.

And so we invite you who read this article to share the word that we are open for business; that we want to invite those who are keen to serve God in their neighbour as brother. Edmund showed us the way. Let us follow his lead and pray as he did, that Jesus will live forever in our hearts!

Edmund Rice Spirit in Action...

(45 Dellamarta Road, Wangara)
ON SUNDAY 4 MAY, 2003 at 3.30 pm

afternoon tea supplied
display: wheelchairs for kids
overseas projects
welcome and a little prayer
power point presentation and
sharing on Indian Pilgrimage Trinity students)
BBQ - gourmet sausage sizzle supplied
BYO drinks and everything else

RSVP to Noelene (9365 2800) by Wed, 23 April

The need for wheelchairs is urgent ...

...so are volunteers to make them!

The demand for Olly's wheelchairs around the world continues to grow. Br Olly has told us that he has now supplied over 600 chairs to people in Thailand, Vietnam, Africa, the Philipines as well as in Australia. These wheelchairs go to desperately poor people whose lives are transformed by these gifts.

Bob Sheridan one of Olly's longest serving volunteers

The effort is only possible because of the generous support of Rotary, businesses in Western Australia and the many people who make donations either directly to Olly's workshop, through schools, or through Rotary fund-raising endeavours. Equally valuable though are the countless hours of voluntary time donated by the individuals who assemble the wheelchairs.

Can you spend an afternoon a week for a couple of months helping assemble wheelchairs at Olly's Workshop?

The activity is well-suited to active retired people and schools can take it on as a class project. If you can help contact Olly directly on 041 1633 020 or the Workshop on 08 9409 3633. Can schools consider taking this on as a fundraising endeavour during Lent or at any other time during the year?

www.edmundrice.org -- an important resource of the Edmund Rice National Formation Program...
by Peter Nicholson, Coordinator National Formation Team

A FEW DAYS AGO I arrived at work to find the Treacy Centre in uproar. Disaster was clearly writ on the face of our receptionist. On the edge of tears, she could barely manage the words, “the system is down, no internet, no email, and we don’t know how long it will be”.

As it turned out I spent the day offline quite profitably, mainly catching up on reading hardcopy – books as they are called. But the experience brought home to me just how much I had come to rely on the net and how, within the space of a few years, it had shaped my work practices and mode of communication. On most days I am in touch with people many miles distant throughout Australia and throughout the world.

Over fifty years ago Jesuit, Teilhard de Chardin envisaged a stage of evolution whereby a complex web of communication fuelled by human consciousness enveloped the globe. He termed it the noosphere. Today we live in the midst of a web of telephone wires, satellite transmissions and computer circuits which enable us to be instantly in touch with our fellow human beings on the other side of the globe, and to tune into the massive bank of accumulated information and human wisdom.

The Edmund Rice network is one tiny subset of the global human community. With its origins in the charism of Edmund some two centuries ago, it is its own network of relationships with its own history, meaning, dynamism and continuing evolution. But it does not and cannot exist in isolation; its wires connect us to so many other networks, ultimately to the whole noosphere.

Some two years ago Edmund Rice Online began as a means of sharing information about the network, a way of connecting the various parts of the network and tuning in to its inner spirit. To some extent its development has taken us by surprise for it seems to have taken on a life of its own and shown us pathways that we never planned. All of that we celebrate. Edmund Rice Online, www.edmundrice.org goes into it’s third year with a healthy average of 43,000 hits per month.

For further information visit www.edmundrice.org or telephone Peter Nicholson (03) 8359 0100.

January 2003 Camps at Moore River...

Mark Walowski reports on the camps which this year were held at Moore River…

Well I must say, what could be a better way to start 2003 than to be involved with 120 young adult leaders making a difference to the lives of 130 kids and their families during the summer vacation at Moore River, some 90 kilometres north of Perth. Four camps were held with each being 4 days long for the kids and 6 for the leaders with the age groups being 9 to 11 (2 camps), 12 & 13 and 14 to 17yrs. To say that our leaders worked well together and that the kids had a ball is to say the least.

Fun at the Edmund Rice Cricket Challenge...

Our story begins on the mornings of January with 120-odd hip and happening guy and gals gathering outside Westcourt, to begin the formalities. The leaders and the camp teams introduced themselves to each other (Richard and Mark ...who???). After a rundown of policy and guidelines, it was off to Moore River in Wal's big bus - a great opportunity to get to know new faces, re-acquaint with familiar ones, or to simply indulge in a quick nap (before the real fun begins). On arrival, all in sundry slipped into something more comfortable and moved to meet the most important people on camp - the cooks and head off for a quick dip. As the first day drew to a close, all could see that the camps would truly rock. All that was needed now were the kids...

Mark Walawski

So, after another trek in Wal's big bus, it was time to meet the kids / participants / young adults / whatever! What an electric bunch they were indeed - a complete mixture of sizes, shapes, tastes, opinions, experiences, and cultures. The trips back to the camp were filled with introductions, stories, laughs, and the regular dose of singing -obvious signs that groups were about to have the time of their lives. After choosing sleeping arrangements, it was finally time to get on with the camp - yay!! !

The next few weeks were filled with a range of great activities that kept everyone going the whole time: mini 'seminars' on why what's cool is cool (and Mav just ISN'T cool!), trips to the beach, regular games of cricket (often a little too scary for most...), canoe trips along the Moore River (are we there yet???), crazy and hilarious '.luaus', jelly fights, water bombs, body painting, arts and craft, the camp photo (Squeeze Up!!!) and the Skit Night.

However, the climax of any camp is definitely the always popular but weepy Graduation Ceremony and final reflections. Sadly, this year, we said a huge thankyou and goodbye to Jaime-Marie, Natasha, AJ, Brett, Griffen, Chris, and Paul, all of whom had been having fun with us since they were 9 years of age - some 8 years and 16 separate camps.

Unfortunately though, all good things must come to an end. By the time the last morning had come around, nobody wanted to go home. Everyone climbed back into Wal's big bus for one last time and headed back to Perth. The last goodbyes were again a little sad, but all leaders and kids felt better for the experiences that they had shared on these camps

Everyone would agree that these January camps truly did ROCK!!!)

SEVERAL ERF MEMBERS have said to me recently that the movement needs a sense of direction, more specifically, that it needs a mission or sense of purpose. Do you agree? When I reflect on the life of Edmund particularly in the thirteen years between when he lost his wife, Mary, and starting the Brothers in 1802, I see a man constantly crossing the street to help a neighbour. Read his story again. The examples pile up. If anyone would like to access his story, let me know and I’ll happily supply it.

It seems to me that prayer and acts of service, to those we meet at work within our daily lives is not beyond us, and could be the direction we seek. How do we do this? Can we not learn from each other? I know many of you are significantly involved in both prayer and service already.

I suggest those of you who read this, who would like to meet with me to discuss how best we might proceed, could contact me on 9365 2804 or email ellyard.rod@westcourt. wa.edu.au, or drop me a line at Westcourt. I am thinking of a late afternoon or evening weekday timeslot. When you contact me please let me know what time suits you and leave a return contact number and address. I will call for meetings in both Adelaide and Perth.

The other thing: in about 1793 Edmund contributed finance to the production of an edition of the Bible — quite an expensive undertaking in those days. He then purchased a copy for himself. Edmund’s Bible is today one of our most precious heirlooms. Many passages, those that guided his life, are marked. An example is that every reference in the Bible to money is highlighted. At the time, Edmund was a wealthy man. The second half of his life was marked by the careful use of money but always for others. This is an example of how the Bible guided and informed his life decisions. I think we could learn from this.

To be true to Edmund’s spirit we need to turn to the same source he did. My suggestion is that when we meet we begin by sharing one Scripture passage and say briefly how this has guided our lives. This might lead us to prayer and then to a sharing of how we are or could be of service to others.

I look forward to hearing from you. ...Br Rod Ellyard

An uplifting interview with Kelsey Wilson --
an Edmund Rice volunteer on her way to Tanzania

Now here is something to really lift your spirits. Kelsey Wilson (23) graduated from Murdoch University at the end of last year with a degree in Psychology. She has long been involved in the Eddie Rice Camp for Kids program – as have her two older sisters and her younger sister. At the end of last year though following an awesome personal experience at a leaders’ camp she felt this deep call to take on an even bigger challenge. She approached the Brothers to become an Edmund Rice Volunteer for twelve months. Shortly before she left for the school at Arusha in Tanzania where she will spend the next year Brian Coyne conducted an interview by email. This is Kelsey’s story in her own words. Be inspired by a young woman who really has been captivated by the vision of Edmund Rice.

Kelsey Wilson and her mother at the send-off
held at Westcourt on 20th February

Brian Coyne: Kelsey, could you tell us a little of your background and how you first became involved with the Edmund Rice Family?

Kelsey: I am 23 years old, I went to Mercedes College in Perth and became involved in ER camps as I was following in the footsteps of my two older sisters who were also involved in camps, my younger sister has also been heavily involved. So the camps have been very important in my family. I have just finished my four year Bachelor of Psychology degree at Murdoch and was intending to begin masters studies in speech pathology this year until I got another idea....

Have there been any particular highlights in your involvement with Camps for Kids?

I have been a leader on ER camps for more than six years but even before that I spent alot of time at ER social and fundraising events and couldn’t wait to get on camp as a leader myself. In my time on camps I have been on many of the different action groups and did a stint on the executive committee. On camps themselves I enjoyed being camp coordinator a few times, even camp cook (well cook’s assistant!). And the last two camps I’ve been on I have enjoyed the role of camp coach as we are experimenting with the role being filled by lay experienced camp leaders as well as Brothers.

One of the things I have appreciated most from camps is the opportunity it gives me to look at different ways I can serve others and the community. It is practical. Nurturing children is the most important thing we can do for our world. Nothing can be more important than the education of a child and to build their confidence, by opening them to acceptance and love.

My involvement with camps has also provided wonderful opportunties for self-growth and self-awareness. And I have seen that in so many leaders, not only myself.

Can you articulate what has led you from involvement at that level to the level of dedicating a year of your life as a full-time volunteer in Tanzania? Is it something that you would classify more as a “feeling in your bones” that you felt called to give this a go, or was it some specific invitation that was offered to you?

I have great faith that this is a path that I was meant to be following and it came to me quite by surprise. I had not spoken to anyone or really thought about this commitment as fitting into my life at any stage in the near future. I had admired a close friend spending a year in Broome a couple of years ago but I was more interested in furthering my studies for the next few years.

The spark began with the culmination of an extraordinary camp and finishing my degree in October last year. On the camp I was able to experience being camp coach for the first time combined with rock climbing and abseiling. The physical adventure left me with an amazing adrenalin rush and a feeling that I had tested my limits, succeeded and loved it. The camp coach role allowed me to develop a close bond with the campers and leaders alike. I felt like I was in a position to nurture and mould the experiences of the others to care. My principal role – to make sure the whole group was ok – was so fulfilling. After camp I was on a high for about two weeks then it hit me that instead of only interacting with fellow leaders and children in camp why didn’t I really build on that and work on it – experience it for a whole year.

It was funny because after I had made my decision I was telling one of my sisters and she immediately said to me “Kelsey, that was what you always wanted to do and you just forgot”, I then remembered that until about the age of 12 I always dreamt of going away to a place where people had less than I did and devoting my capabilities to being with them and assisting them. It was always Africa! I guess in the process of adolescence and working out my place in this society I had forgotten what had been my first aim all along. The inner voice was being drowned out by too much noise—the noise of everyday life!

Can you put into words what you are seeking to achieve from your endeavour? Is it is a social justice type call of wanting to help others who are not as privileged as you feel you have been, or is it a sense of wanting to explore how “the other half lives”, or is it a sense of adventure, or is it something you can’t fully describe and has a spiritual dimension to it?

I answer yes to all of these questions for myself: I feel that all too often in this society we put things off or negate things rather than living. There is too much of people saying “when this ..... happens then I will be happy”. I want to start living, I want to be brave, I want to broaden my horizons and I want to learn.

I can’t presume what I will be able to accomplish on this journey. I guess I can only hope that my different perspective and energy might get some things going. I hope that I will be able to have ideas that will help in the school and for the present lifestyle and future prospects of the students I come across. It hurts me being in such a materialistic society where the things you find yourself caring about have nothing to do with survival or the basic quality of life. I was lucky to be born into my life but there are multitudes that have so much less and they far outnumber the Western world. Sometimes I don’t understand where we get off being so insular and that we spend most of our time feeling sorry for ourselves in this society. I am excited about learning about the culture of the people in Tanzania and what their formula for happiness and life is.

For the world, at this present time in the world with so much fear and unrest, I am more determined to be part of the good of the world. If things get worse I want to be somewhere living out a practical giving and have faith in the ripple effect.

The last couple of months have been a roller coaster of fear (mixed with self-doubt) and sheer excitement, sometimes this switches every five minutes, sometimes week-to-week. With a week to go now I feel mostly excited. Most of all I feel faith, lately I have felt my faith growing and I want to harness that with an experience such as this to nurture my faith and my belief in the human spirit.

Do you know yet what type of actual work you will be involved in and who else you will be working with?

I think my actual role is yet to be determined, Frank O’Shea (the Principal of the school in Arusha) seems to have many ideas in the pipeline I think it will depend on what’s currently in need and the kinds of things that I will be able to tackle. As I am not an actual teacher, there are a variety of tasks he has in mind from AIDs education groups to organising camps and assisting with behaviour issues. This is probably the factor I am most scared about as alot of my role will be determined as we go. I feel like there is alot relying on my own innovation, I hope I can come up with the goods!!

I will be living with two women volunteers who have both been there for about a year which is very comforting! I am looking forward to meeting so many people in the school as I have heard many little stories along the way and it will be wonderful to actually be there!

Do you have any reflections from friends or parents on what you are proposing to do that might be worth sharing?

My family and friends have all been very supportive and seem to have been on the same journey as I have in the preparation process. I think alot of them are probably in disbelief that I am really going. My Mum says she is proud and worried but I also know that, like everyone else close to me, they know this whole experience will be invaluable to me at this point in my life. I can’t wait for it to begin.

News from all around Holy Spirit Province...

Responsibilities of members of the new Province Leadership Team...

The new PLT at one of their first meetings.
From left and proceeding around the table: Pat Kelly, Den McGlaughlin,
Kevin Ryan, Rod Ellyard and Peter Negus

FOLLOWING THE HOLY SPIRIT PROVINCE CHAPTER IN JULY 2002, a new Leadership Team was appointed to lead the Province until 2008. The team consists of Kevin Ryan as Province Leader, Dean McGlaughlin as Deputy Province Leader, Pat Kelly, Peter Negus and Rod Ellyard as Province Councillors.

Kevin was Deputy in the previous team and Pat and Peter were team members. Dean comes to the team having recently completed 10 years as Principal of Rostrevor College in Adelaide. He currently wears two hats as he is also Coordinator of the National Planning Committee on Schools Governance, a role he will carry until the end of 2003. Rod brings extensive experience in Papua New Guinea in a variety of leadership roles. He returned to Holy Spirit Province 6 years ago.

Each member has his own areas of responsibility, but a new feature is that the team works in two mini-teams. Peter and Rod are responsible mainly for issues related to Brothers, ERF and Formation. Dean and Pat are responsible for Ministries. There are monthly meetings with Kevin by each mini team and monthly whole team meetings. Much work has progressed on developing a Strategic Plan for the Province. Meanwhile the day to day administration continues. The team is well supported by a competent, hard-working staff at Westcourt.

What’s Br Tony up to?

AFTER SIX YEARS AS PROVINCE LEADER and another six before that on the Province Leadership Team Tony Shanahan reports that he feels “quite at ease with the lack of deadlines and pressure”. Presently he is engaged in a three month course in Apostolic Spirituality at the Jesuit-run St Beuno’s, in North Wales. This course includes the Thirty Day retreat, or Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius, and runs from January 31 to April 29.

He says “I have chosen this course at St Beuno’s because the Spiritual Exercises focus on discernment and commitment, and these seem very appropriate themes for me at this transition time, as I try to discern where I am being called to next in living out my commitment as a Christian Brother. I have got as far as knowing that I want to make available my skills and training in the areas of psychology and formation, and that I want to use those within the Congregation or the Edmund Rice Network.”

Br Tony is looking at options including working in Africa or taking up some endeavour back here in Australia. He writes:

“Following the course at St Beuno’s, I will take a break of a couple of weeks, probably seeing the west and north of Ireland, country I’ve not seen. Around mid-May I will head for East Africa. I will probably spend about six weeks there to “suss out” what living and working in Africa would be like. The visit will help me be realistic in weighing up the Africa option. I think I have some expertise and skills that could be of assistance there. The countries I intend to visit are Kenya, Tanzania and Zambia. There are young men entering the Brothers in these countries, a few of whom I met earlier this year. The situation for us in Africa is promising but there are all sorts of issues to be dealt with in developing our presence there, including poverty, threats of war (especially in West Africa), terrorism, and adapting Christian Brother life to the cultural realities of Africa. One key factor in deciding whether our African presence will flourish will be the quality of formation we give young African Brothers, which is where I may be able to help.”

“I will be back in Perth in early July, and by then our own Province will have completed a review of its own formation needs. So the new Leadership Team will be in a better position by then to say what they might want me to do here. At that stage I/we will have the difficult task of deciding where I am best suited. I say ‘difficult’ because I think that there are potentially a number of things I could do, all things that I would enjoy and that would be very worthwhile. That’s where the time of reflection and prayer at St Beuno’s will be important, in helping me understand better where I’m meant to be at this time.”

In the meantime he warns everyone to beware. He’s also been acquiring some computer skills using the new laptop he was presented with at the end of his term as Province Leader.

Mark Walawski's TRASNA Report...

The TRASNA 2002 Partipants

MARK WALAWSKI, Executive Office of Edmund Rice Camps WA, recently published an enlightening report of his Trasna experience last year. The report was originally published in Rice Paper, the newsletter for Eddie Rice Camp Leaders. As what he wrote will be of interest to a wider audience we are including it as a supplement to this newsletter along with all the colour photographs. Click here to read Mark's report.

The photographs in Mark's report are worth looking at in their own right.


Marlene Jackamarra reports on Indigenous Ministries activities...

Marlene with the new posters.

MARLENE JACKAMARRA reports to us that the awaited CD-ROM of resources on indigenous issues for use in schools and study groups is now in the final stages of mastering in Brisbane. There has been a significant input of resources from Holy Spirit Province to this national initiative. Also at the national level two posters have recently been published to further the work of reconciliation between Edmund Rice Ministries and Indigenous Australians. Copies of these posters can be seen in the photograph of Marlene above. Please feel free to contact Marlene (08 9365 2800 or mjackamarra@telstra.com) to order copies of the CD-ROM or the posters.

Marlene has also been heavily involved with arranging the visit of Fr Michael Lapsley to Perth to run a Healing of Memories workshop in May (see next story).

Fr Michael Lapsley to conduct Healing of Memories Workshop in May...

Fr Michael Lapsley SSM

FATHER MICHAEL LAPSLEY SSM of Cape Town, South Africa, was Chaplain of the African National Congress (ANC) when he lost both hands and an eye in a letter bomb attack. He has since become a sought-after speaker around the world because of the work of the Institute for Healing of Memories which was set up in South African in 1998. This had grown out of the Healing of Memories Chaplaincy Project of the Trauma Centre for Victims of Violence and Torture. Today the Institute for Healing of Memories is a Trust which seeks to contribute to the healing journey of individuals, communites and nations.

Fr Lapsley will be presenting one of these Healing of Memories Workshops in partnership with the Edmund Rice Centre at Mirrabooka. The workshop will be conducted at the Swanleigh Camp Conference and Workshop Venue, Yule Avenue, Middle Swan from Thursday 22 to Saturday 24 May.

Following the workshop and Ecumenical Service will be held at St Georges Cathedral in Perth at 2.00 pm on Sunday, 25th May which will be open to all.

To find out more about Fr Lapsley and the Institute for the Healing of Memories visit their website: www.healingofmemories.co.za

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.

Special Report...

The Cause of Blessed Edmund Rice
Update on the the process of Canonisation

The following report by Br Dominic Sassi from the Congregation Leadership Team in Rome provides the most up-to-date report on the process for the Canonisation of Blessed Edmund Rice. Br Donal Blake, a member of St Helen’s Province in Ireland has been appointed Postulator of the Cause to replace Br Regis Hickey who retired after the Beatification in 1996.

ON 7 JANUARY 2003 THE CONGREGATION LEADERSHIP FORMALLY MADE THE DECISION TO START THE PROCEDURES FOR THE CANONISATION OF OUR FOUNDER BLESSED EDMUND RICE. The first necessity was the appointment of a Postulator for the Cause to replace Br Regis Hickey who retired after the beatification in 1996. Philip has since written to Br Donal Blake to appoint him as Postulator.

Donal is a member of St Helen’s Province in Ireland and is presently writing the life of Colm Keating. He was a member of the research team which assisted Br Columba Normoyle in completing the Positio presented to the Congregation for Causes in Rome. He is also the author of "A Man for Our Time" a short life of Edmund Rice.

We are greatly indebted to Donal for accepting the post, as well as to the Leadership of St Helen’s for their generosity in making him available. Donal has a number of commitments to complete before he starts the work of Postulator and takes up residence in Rome.

I am sure that Donal will be eager to communicate with the Brothers throughout the Congregation once he starts his role of Postulator. In the meantime allow me to reflect on what it might entail. The first thing to note is that the only thing that is needed to make a blessed into a saint is a miracle; all the other work has been done during the beatification process; the holiness of the candidate - the heroicness of virtue - has already been approved by the Church. So whereas the work of postulating the cause of someone for beatification is long and arduous, the work of making a blessed into a saint is relatively simple: all that is needed is the will to introduce the cause and a miracle brought about through the intercession of the beatus. The latter may take years, but the results of an increase in devotion to and imitation of B1essed Edmund should be immediately beneficial.

The process for canonisation can be outlined as follows:

The ACTOR of the cause is the person(s) who presents the candidate for canonisation. In our case the Actor will be the Congregation or CLT. The Actor appoints a POSTULATOR who takes care of the technical work on our behalf.

The Postulator gathers all the necessary documents and presents these first to the local Ordinary of a diocese connected with the candidate. The Postulator and/or Vice-Postulator work closely with various tribunals set up by the diocese. In our case this will mean looking for proof of a second miracle, based on all the possible medical documents and the opinion of expert physicians.

The diocese sends all the documentation to Rome to be considered by the Congregation of Saints.

In the past, some Brothers have expressed scepticism on the need to canonise the Founder. Others have expressed stronger doubts about the cost of the process. "Why is this money not given to the poor?" I prefer to think of the canonisation as an investment, the spiritual fruits of which cannot be expressed in financial terms. And certainly the cost of the process would pale in significance when compared with expenses on administration, buildings and legal costs.

What might be the benefits of canonising our Founder? Why bother? I would include the following:

  The greater glory of God
  We give thanks to God for the gift of Edmund Rice
  Responding to the renewed interest following the beatification
  Holiness is infectious; we (People of God) benefit from his holiness
  Encouragement - Edmund is one of us
  Every saint is a master-piece of God given to the Church as a witness
  Edmund is already canonised in our hearts

The last point is very important: if Edmund is not ‘canonised in our hearts’ there would be no point in his being canonised by the Church. In his letter of appointment to Donal, Philip writes: ". ..while we wait for a second miracle that will be acceptable to the Vatican Congregation for Saints, your task will be to keep alive the story of Blessed Edmund. It will be your duty to communicate with personnel in the Provinces and Regions and work out ways in which the ideals and life of the Founder could become a living tradition. In this way you will be making an invaluable contribution in helping us all deepen the spirituality of being Brother which our recent Chapter called us to."

This is why in most Religious Orders, the Postulator also takes on the task of promoting devotion to the beatus and, with the help of others in different parts of the world, generally animates the members and the faithful in their devotion. It would therefore be appropriate for Provinces and Regions to consider who might be the best person to appoint as local promoter of the cause.

We have of course informed the Presentation Brothers of our decision and have invited them to consider how they might be involved in the process. In the meantime let us support Donal with our prayers as he takes up this important role on our behalf.

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
on Canvas (27x66) cms. 1996.
Hugh Sharpe, cfc]


TESTIMONY of John Caulfield, 1912...

“I was a pupil of the Christian Brothers
in my Sion, Waterford, during the lifetime
of Rev. Bro. Edmund Ignatius Rice, and
though young at the time, I have a distinct
remembrance of his fatherly kindness to
me as he passed through the classrooms.”

Edmund's love for his disabled daughter, Mary, was perhaps a significant factor in determining the orientation of his life: he became even more sensitive to the plight of the "little ones" who were in some way disadvantaged. Edmund's fatherly qualities found vivid expression in the way he drew out the best in the street boys under his care.



This reflection is taken from Chapter 6 on Father-figure in God is in the Ordinary by Teresa Pirola.


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