Edition 3 : September 2001
all and welcome to this third email
edition of Edmund Rice News.
THE FIRST YEAR OF THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY
appears to have generated an extraordinary amount of activity
in the Edmund Rice Family around the world and in our own backyard.
This edition of Edmund Rice Family News for the Holy Spirit Province
contains a number of reflective reports on the Edmund Rice Family
Conference held in Melbourne in July; an international report
from a new glossy publication in Ireland, Network News, on the
international success of Teresa Pirolas book God
is in the Ordinary; reports on plans for the Bicentennial
celebrations in 2002; reports from some of our schools; and on
the recent Eddie Rice Camps for Kids; and much, much more. Click
on any of the hyperlinks below to quickly navigate this electronic
|Quick Guide to this issue:
3: Sept 2001
|The Edmund Rice Family National Conference took
place in early July at Newman College at the University of Melbourne.
Delegates from South Australia joining the approximately 69 participants
from around the nation included Renee Hoban, Cliff Samuel, Br
Des OGrady, Libby Oudshorn, Andrée Brown, Nick Lynch
and Fernando Farrugia. From Western Australia the participants
included Jill and Michael Parker, Br Steve Bowman, Kavelyn Holmes,
Hilary Fowle, Catherine and Ray Kosovich, Matt Lobo, Paul Jacobs,
Sandro Sandri, Tash Glass, Gina Green and Kellee Kemp. Br Kevin
Ryan also attended from the Province Leadership Team and prepared
the reflection below which serves as the editorial for this edition.
A reflection on the Edmund
Rice Family National Conference
By Br Kevin Ryan cfc
THE ACCOMPANYING ARTICLE by Kellee Kemp will
give you a sense of the energy and enthusiasm of the gathering. Before
listing three of the most significant practical outcomes of
the Conference, I would like to share one of the things that gave me a
deeper understanding of how to think, talk and pray about the Edmund Rice
Family. The insight came after hearing Fr Andrew Hamilton SJ talk about
the Jesuit Refugee Service.
The Edmund Rice story in Holy
Spirit Province, and probably everywhere, attacts in different
ways a great diversity of people: married people, single people
and brothers. Some of these have a clear understanding of Edmund
as a committed Christian and Catholic, that he was inspired by
the Gospel and nurtured by the Sacramental life of the Church,
especially the Eucharist. They are also inspired and attracted
by what he did his service to the poor, most
particularly through education, but also through prison visiting,
managing of finances and in many other ways.
Others, however, seem attracted
by the energy of organisations that have sprung up as a result
of both the energy of Edmund himself and of men and women inspired
by his story. They are only just getting to know Edmunds
story and they may or may not know that he was inspired by the
Gospel. Those who are of Christian beliefs may be struggling
to connect their belief with the Eucharist and/or the Church
Fr Andrew Hamilton reminded us
that on examining the Gospel it is possible to say that the core
of it is hospitality. It aims to gather people together,
to make us one. This can be seen especially in the stories of
Jesus sharing of meals.
In applying this and other insights
from Fr Andrew and the sessions of the Conference, it seems that
the ERF can accommodate the full spectrum of people, as long
as they are genuinely on a journey of discovery about who Edmund
Rice was and what the ERF is.
Core values, policies & strategies
The core values, policies and
strategies of the ERF need to be named and monitored by those
who are closer to the core of Edmund Rices insight into
the Gospel, Eucharist, spirituality and his deepest motivation
for working with others. If this does not happen, the movement
will lose its attractiveness and energy.
At the same time the Gospel is
about welcome and hospitality. Therefore the ERF must welcome
anyone who may only wish to do one camp, one
prayer gathering, one volunteer action, or
who may be just coming to look and meet. They may
never return, or they may return when the time is right
for them. Others may stay involved because the energy feels good
and I like to help people and because I like
this spiritual experience or because I'm learning
a lot about myself, but not be ready to commit in faith
to the Gospel, to Jesus, to God or to the Eucharist.
This wide spectrum of people
and participation in the ERF will not be neat, tidy or comfortable.
The Gospel can help us to be at peace but, strangely, it will
at the same time stretch and challenge us ... the ERF will be
stretched and challenged as well if it is based on the Gospel.
So, with all that having been said, what were some of the specific
outcomes? They included these three:
- National Committee: to establish
a national (Australia/NZ) committee/body to facilitate the ongoing
process/development/formation of the ERF. Committee to liaise
with the Interprovince Leadership Committee (ILC). Members to
consist of PLT, several ERF members, reps of key ministries.
To meet quarterly.
- Regional Representation and
Coordination: Identify/appoint State/Province coordinators/facilitators/representatives/executive
officers. That this be a funded role. The identifying objectives
of the role were also spelt out.
- The on-going process for Development
of ERF. This is to be reviewed at the National Gathering in 2003.
As a young man Edmund Rice experienced great love and great loss.
Like Edmund, may we seek you in all the experiences of our lives,
the joyful and the sorrowful.
from Chapter Three Growing in Faith of God
is in the Ordinary by Teresa Pirola seems particularly
appropriate in the aftermath of the flight of four commercial
jet liners that were driven into the collective heart of humanity
on 11th September 2001 by terrorists. The theme of this chapter
is out of human grief and suffering, Christ brings new
of Edmund Rice and his wife Mary at left is from a new exhibition
on the national Edmund Rice web site by Tasmanian painter, Br
Hugh Sharpe of Hobart http://www.edmundrice.org/content/gallery_a.html
of the ERF National Conference from two grassroots participants...
Kellee Kemp: Eddie Rice Camp Leader
ABOUT EIGHTY PEOPLE came together that
cold, windy, blustery day at the University of Melbourne. Each person
representing an organisation, school, ministry or initiatives from
each state in Australia (and New Zealand) that follows the charism
of Edmund Rice the man. Wow! Just think how many people there were
back at home, behind each of these representatives ... thats
a lot of people over a lot of land. It was suddenly apparent I was
part of something so huge it was overwhelming, yet totally
inspiring at the same moment.
No matter who we are or where
we are in the world, we are all doing the same thing in our own
way, and I was eager to hear from others and see how they express
the charism of Edmund Rice in their work.
The gathering consisted of sessions
and smiles, discussions and dancing, music and meals, group work
and presentations, rituals and reflections, a surprise sing-a-long
of Im a little coconut (with actions!), photos,
proposals, prayers, beliefs and values, artistic and creative
crayon work and conclusions.
Where to now, Edmund?
the crowd quietly asked. Together we strived to identify what
was needed for the ongoing development of the Edmund Rice Family.
Outcome focused, through debate and vote, we reached a proposal
of roads to the future.
As a volunteer at Edmund Rice
Camps for Kids in Perth and a teacher at Clontarf Aboriginal
College, I found the gathering extremely beneficial, educational,
spiritual and fun. I walked away, well no, actually I flew Qantas,
but I did depart with a huge understanding of the Edmund Rice
Family, an idea of where our vision is and a clear picture of
how we will journey forward. I hope to be able to inspire and
share my renewed energy with those around me.
Clifford Samuel, CBC Wakefield Street,
SEVEN OF US from a diverse range of works were the
S.A. delegates. From my perspective, the opportunity to meet
these people and interact with over 80 others from across Australia
and New Zealand was an enriching and enjoyable experience.
My understanding coming out of
our time together is that the Edmund Rice Family consists of
those people who are involved in the works of the CBs or associated
with the CBs and who identify that involvement. Having stated
this, there is still a need to understand the meaning of the
term Edmund Rice Family and even whether this is
an appropriate term. These matters are still to be worked out.
The Conference took a process
type direction. It did have a charter from the Interprovince
Leadership Committee (ILC) to take initiatives and give direction
for the ERF in Australasia.
It seems to me that there is
a need to provide for the on-going works of the Christian Brothers
and the direction of these works as the brothers become less
and less in number. Furthermore it is vital that the continuance
of the Edmund Rice mission and ethos be ensured. This is what
made the conference so interesting and makes the following Conference
Descriptors of the ERF so prophetic.
- is a grassroots movement
- needs to be risk taking
- explores new models of Church
inspired by the charism of Edmund Rice
- has schools as an integral part
- has individuals choosing to
be part of it not assumed
- develops as a separate entity
to the CB Congregation Brothers may choose to be members
- will need CBs investing in formation
of ERF leadership
- grows within the existing 200
year tradition and experience of CBs.
While the Conference provided
for the setting up of structures to enable the continuance of
the Edmund Rice ethos, that was not, in my opinion, its main
strength. The Conference was fundamentally about participants
supporting individuals in their particular Edmund Rice ministry.
It is, in fact, this type of support that will be the key to
the future shaping of what each endeavour will become.
||Tell the rest of the Edmund Rice Community of whats
happening in your sector. Send your stories to Pat
If you have photos, logos or graphics all the better.
poetry and me! by
Br Ray ODonoghue
Br Ray ODonoghue was born in
1924 and taught in NSW, Queensland, SA, and WA mainstream schools
for over forty years. He possesses a pioneering spirit and his
own story is inspirational. When most his age were retiring he
moved into Indigenous Education in Kununurra. In 1993, as he
neared 70 he volunteered to teach English to Chinese adults.
This article, besides giving glimpses of China and its culture,
reflects some of Br Rays skills and passion in Reading
Skills and Adult Literacy. At 77 he is home for a brief rest
in Australia, and when he recuperates from his open heart surgery
hell be off again to China.
DURING MY TIME IN CHINA, I often find times and places that
make me reflect on lines of poetry that I have learnt and remembered
during the past 70 years. The memory of these lines was a comfort
and a meditation. I recall some that often helped me as Wordsworth
flash upon the inward eye
which is the bliss of solitude.
One of my favourite hymns in the Office is
Alone with none but they my God
I journey on my way
What need I fear when thou art near
O king of night and day.
Its simple rhythm came to me when I faced going to class with
the temperature at -20°C in Urumqi.
Under-employment is one of Chinas many problems. Go into
a large store and we see uniformed shop assistants almost within
arms reach of one another, standing quietly looking at
and for customers. Miltons line always comes to me:
They also serve who only stand and wait.
In China, it is common for old men to keep birds in cages so
that they can listen to their songs and take them to the park
where they can compare the birds whistling. Blake would
A Robin Redbreast in a cage
Puts all heaven in a rage.
Taiwan is an island
about the length of the distance from Perth to Albany. On this small,
mountainous land live 20,000,000 people who own 10,000,000 motor scooters.
Being rather lawless citizens, they dont worry much about wearing
helmets. As I watched women scooting along at rush speed, I recalled Keats'
line in To Autumn:
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind.
Eighty per cent of Chinese people live in rural areas. To watch
the plotted and pieced fields of rice, sunflowers,
rape, maize, etc., is so enjoyable from bus, train and plane
but the reality of the farmers living without electricity, plumbing,
windows is not so attractive. This is where the real strength
of China lies, and its worry, as millions move to try to share
in city comforts. The words of Gray are still so true:
Let no ambition mock their useful toil,
Their homely joys, and destiny obscure,
More Grandeur hear with a disdainful smile
The short and simple annals of the poor.
All over China, some of the richest agricultural land in the
world is being given over to factories, highways, schools, hotels
even golf courses. In the name of progress and development,
the countryside loses both its population and its ecology. This
happens in many other places as Goldsmith observed a couple of
hundred years ago,
Ill fares the land, to hastning ills a prey
where wealth accumulates, and men decay.
We can feel this also in Australia,
But a bold peasanty, their countrys pride,
when once destroyed, can never be supplied.
One of my most ecstatic moments occured on a chair-lift near
the 5000 metre Jade Snow Mountain the area for the setting
of James Hiltons, The Last Horizon. As I rode
with some friends we sang,
What a friend we have in Jesus
All our sins and griefs to hear!
What a privilege to carry
Everything to God in prayer!
There is everything in China from the heights of joy to the lows
of dread; the experiences are dramatic and humbling.
(l) and Ralph Sequiera (r) with Br Rob Callan. Photo taken at Pune, India last December.
SANGRAM -- a battle
Read the story of three young Christian
Brothers in India. These Brothers, Avinash, Ralph and Maurice,
had been working with the Khasi tribal people in the village
of Mawjrong near Shillong, but a year ago received permission
from their Province Leadership team to move even further to the
margins of their society and set off for the most remote state
of India: Arunachal. A report just received from Br Ralph Sequira
is too long to carry in the main body of this email newsletter
so we have included it as a separate page which you can access
by clicking here.
Report from Edmund Rice Centre at the University
of Notre Dame Australia
in East Timor
The Edmund Rice Centre at the University
of Notre Dame has been attracting a lot of interest for the on-going
support they have been giving to East Timor. This report has
been written by Chris Parkinson who is a Third Year BA Arts (Communications)
student at UNDA.
WHAT IF you could start life all over again?
What if something was that resounding, that it altered everything you
have grown to accept, changed the goals you dreamed, of the ambitions
you desired, and the person you aspired to be? What if, the Rebirth and
Rebuilding of East Timor, became your own personal rebirth, rather than
that of a nation? Would that still register as a successful immersion
into a culture and a country that now, a month later, seems so surreal?
The blank white pages of the
dates 22 June - 23 July of my little black personal organiser
hold a greater significance now than they once did. They represent
the void in time that was East Timor the defining period
that separates the past from the present and the future. The
time where one life stopped, and another one began. The time
where nothing happened in Perth, but a whole new world opened
up in East Timor.
My experience in East Timor has
not yet ended. It probably never will. As each day passes, I
learn something new about myself, and my place in the world,
and that of those that surround me. East Timor taught me to question.
Indeed, an answer was not always necessary or, for that matter,
even there, but that did not take anything away from the process
of thought that inspired questioning. There are some things in
life that simply don't need answers: Only the intuition to think
and question their existence.
I learnt what it is to be human,
in many senses of the word. How our human existence differs from
culture to culture. How many humans can make progress. How community
living is central to the East Timorese way of life, and how every
human has a place and a role within this community framework.
How did East Timor affect me?
In every way possible, except I couldn't begin to tell you where
it all starts, and where it all ends. I questioned everything,
and got answers to nothing. That, however, is what makes it all
worthwhile, as the beauty of life doesn't need answers or reflections.
It just sits there stored in your heart and in your mind
tranquil, reserved and undisclosed.
If you have any questions
regarding the East Timor unit at UNDA or volunteering the last
Friday of each month for their East Timor Shipping Container
project, please call Patricia
Rangel at the Edmund Rice Centre on 9239 5542.
Book now working internationally
Teresa Pirola's book, God is in the
Ordinary, which was originally commissioned for Holy Spirit Province
is now attracting international acclaim. The following report
was published in Network News, Summer 2001, the new glossy newspaper
linking the Edmund Rice Ireland network. Pictured below is Br
Brian Clery launching the book in Perth last year at Trinity
There has been a
very successful commencement to the group programme 'God is in the Ordinary'
which has been inspired by Teresa Pirola's book of the same name which
is a series of reflections on the life of Blessed Edmund Rice.
The Programme, which was established
in January of this year, involves regular monthly meetings of
groups of around ten to twelve people at which they reflect on
the Edmund Rice story, the Jesus story and the personal story.
It is estimated that the programme will run for approximately
eight months in total.
At the beginning of May there
were thirty groups in existence involving 365 people. The composition
of the groups includes religious, lay, and also a number of senior
secondary school students. It is also envisaged that in the near
future there will be groups comprised solely of secondary students
in at least two schools.
To date the response from the
participants has been very positive with many making particular
reference to the process advocated by Teresa Pirola in her well-received
As a result of discussion between
Ann Tobar and Michael Foster, national coordinator for the 'God
is in the Ordinary' project, it is hoped that the book will be
used as a resource in schools, particularly with the bicentenary
celebrations of 2002 in mind.
Furthermore, following the very recent visit
of Michael Foster to Manchester to address an Edmund Rice Family gathering,
there is confidence that some groups will adopt the programme in Britain.
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 email@example.com.
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.
Bicentenary of Edmund Rice Schools:
Nearly two hundred years ago,
Edmund Rice started his first school in Waterford, Ireland, on
a property that once belonged to his late wife. This property
became known as the New Street School and it was in this former
stable that Edmund Rice fitted out the upper rooms as his residence
and the downstairs section as classrooms. Here, Edmund Rice warmly
welcomed the young boys from the city of Waterford who were in
need of food, clothing and an education.
Planning at various levels is well underway to celebrate the
Bicentenary. The Province Education Committee is working with
Principals in both SA and WA to have school celebrations next
year. There will be events for all our school staffs in both
States at the beginning of 2002. Special events for students
will take place later in the year, about May or June. Daryl Barclay
from St Patrick's Province who is now in Dublin, is the co-ordinator
of the International Bicentenary Committee. Michael Dredge from
St Mary's Province heads the National Committee.
For further information visit the following websites:
National Committee website:
Care in Edmund Rice Schools
In this edition of Edmund Rice News we are including
two articles outlining pastoral care initiatives in two of the Edmund
Rice schools in the Holy Spirit Province. John Richards from Aquinas College
in Western Australia and Peter Waterman at Rostrevor College in South
Australia provide background to their initiatives that will be of interest
to those conducting similar programs in other schools. We would welcome
further reports from schools in the Edmund Rice Family explaining what
they are doing in this field and trust that this forum might become a
regular place for the exchange of new ideas and initiatives in this and
similar fields. The reports are accessible on a separate plage by clicking
Barry McKenna reports
that Trinity College in Perth has recently instituted an Edmund
Rice Group. The first project undertaken by the students was
to raise $1,000 to purchase materials for ten of Br Olly's wheelchairs
that are destined for India. The students spent a day at Olly's
factory helping put them together. Br Rob Callan from Trinity
sent us an email to say: "Did you know that Br Olly Pickett,
Mr Bob Sheridan and I are off to Chennai, (Madras) this October,
to set up a wheelchair workshop at MITHRA*. This is the place
set up by an Australian nun, Sr Mary Theodore, for disabled children
from the slums of Chennai. Br Olly decided that it might be good
to set up a self-sustaining workshop for some of the older boys
and men at MITHRA." (*Madras Institute to Habilitate Retarded
Afflicted). Pictured at right are the students with one of the
first wheelchairs to be produced under their initiative.
Association of Heads of Edmund Rice Schools of Australia
prepared by Dean McGlauchlin, Principal of Rostrevor College
The Association Logo
encompasses the shape of the Celtic cross. This cross is open
ended signifying the continued sharing of the gospel. It also
has a tree-like shape which indicates growth and development.
The eight arcs represent the six States and two Territories of
Australia. These arcs are open ended signifying the continued
ministries of our schools and their apex are toward the centre
creating our unity and nationality. The openness of this logo
also signifies our openness to a national association.
you might know the Heads of Edmund Rice Schools of Australia
[which is the new designation for the Christian Brothers Schools
Principals] formally Associated at the end of their conference
in Adelaide in June, becoming AHERSA [The Association of Heads
of Edmund Rice Schools of Australia]. The Association has its
own logo which is displayed and explained at left.
The conference was a great success not because of the formation
of the Association but because we spent much time working through
the issues related to future directions for governance, collaboration,
educational leadership, relationship between school heads and
boards and their chairs, school and Edmund Rice ethos and identity
and other similarly weighty topics.
There was a great spirit present among the delegates who were
joined for a day and a half by the members of the National Governance
Steering Committee while we workshopped some of the thornier
issues about future federation and common and shared purpose
Also joining us in Adelaide were members of the National Bicentennial
committee who outined the Australian and the International plans
for the 2002 celebrations.
The Adelaide conference was an extraordinary meeting of the group
since we normally gather biennially in even years. Given the
importance of the governance and federation issues the Association
took the decision to meet in Adelaide as a special event. The
next gathering is scheduled for Perth between 23-26 th August
in 2002 where Bob White [Head at Aquinas College] will be our
host. Effectively with the conclusion of the conference I handed
over responsibility for the Association's planning to Bob White
as the next conference convenor.
Edmund Rice prayer/social group for oldies!
We know that Blessed Edmund
Rice was a man of prayer. In his old age he was still the motivating
force behind the Brothers, not so much in the active way of his
early years, but by his prayers.
On a recent visit to Adelaide, I and my wife, Betty, were privileged
to attend the celebration of Edmund Rices Feast Day at
Rostrevor College. We were warmly welcomed by the SA Brothers
and other members of the Edmund Rice Family.
During the celebrations groups of people gave accounts of their
activities from the very young children of about ten years
of age right through to the oldies. These latter
informed us that their contribution to the life of the ER Family
was to have in their homes small social gatherings which incorporated
keeping in touch with the activities of the Family and sessions
of prayer for the more involved members.
Prior to our experience in Adelaide, we encountered a Justice
and Peace group of the Family in Sydney and also a group of the
Family in Tasmania who man a drop-in centre. Would you believe,
of the four Eastern States we visited in three of them we bumped
into members of our Edmund Rice Family!
Inspired by the South Australian oldies we would
like to initiate a prayer/social group for ER Family oldies
in our Innaloo area or nearby suburbs.
If anyone is interested please contact Alan ONeill, 20B
Geneff Street, INNALOO WA 6018. Tel: 9466 5451.
for your diary...
The celebrations for the Centenary
of the Christian Brothers in Warrnambool, Victoria will be held
on the weekend 24-26 May 2002. Emmanuel College will use the
Centenary as the occasion for celebrating Catholic Education
Camps for Kids!
by Catherine Wheeler, ERC
Well July has come and gone, and for the members of
Edmund Rice Camps for Kids, that means July camps have come and are now
behind us. Another year, and another four successful July camps. I think
it would be fair to say that for most camps, the three days were exhausting,
but in the ERC tradition, everyone had lots of fun and made lots of new
The first camp which ERC ran was a leaders camp.
This was the third Leaders Camp which we have run however,
I could safely say, it was the first ever of its kind. (If you know anything
about ERC, then you will know that everything we do is unique!)
This camp was a terrific opportunity for leaders to come together and
discuss issues which are usually savoured for those times in the carpark
at Westcourt, after a meeting at 10pm at night. From all reports, Camp
Once again I think I could
safely say that July Camps (for the kids) were unlike any other
ERC event. This year the age groups were slightly younger than
usual only by one year but, gee, does that one year make
a difference. From speaking to other volunteers from each camp,
everyone had another terrific time once again and came home tired
There are hundreds of stories to be told from
mazes through to farmyard walks.
A special thanks must go to
Fitzy, Mav, the coordinators and leaders, the Christian Brothers,
bus drivers, cooks and lastly the Catholic Agricultural College,
Bindoon for allowing us to use the school for accommodation.
If you do bump into one of the Eddie Rice Leaders ask them to
share a story about camp. Im sure they would love to.
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