A history of Edmund Rice Day at St Patrick’s College

May 5, 2020

By College Archivist Halina Sztynda

With the sun shining on a clear autumn day, today would have been a brilliant setting for our annual College Walkathon to celebrate Edmund Rice Day in honour of the founder of the Christian Brothers.

The Edmund Rice Icon is located in the Student Services Reception at St Patrick’s College.

However, as with so many events in 2020, the COVID-19 virus has forced us to reiimagine other ways to reflect on and celebrate the life of Edmund Ignatius Rice 1762-1844.

St Patrick’s College usually celebrates ‘Edmund Rice Day’ each year on May 5 with a College Mass, followed by the walkathon which raised tens of thousands of dollars each year for worthy charities. The day culminates each year with the always popular event ‘St Pat’s Has Talent’.

The first official celebration of Edmund Rice Day commenced in 1996 after Pope John Paul II, beatified Edmund Rice at a ceremony in St Peter’s Square, Rome, on the 6th of October. It was from that point that Edmund became known as ‘Blessed Edmund Ignatius Rice’ with the official feast day being the May 5 for our communities to celebrate this special occasion.

Edmund Rice was described as a man of indefatigable zeal and charity, endowed with great prudence, energy and perseverance. He first laid the foundation of an educational system for children of the Catholic poor of Ireland as quoted in his obituary by the Cork Examiner on September 9, 1844.

The College’s statue of Edmund Ignatius Rice.

St Patrick’s College is fortunate to possess an impressive statuarian marble ‘Derville’ statue, depicting Edmund Rice, with the marble emanating from the marble caves of Seravezza , Lucca, Italy.

The statue is located in the space enclosed by the reception building, Kenny House and the main entry corridor.

Under the supervision of Mr Paolo Pace, the artwork took 75 days to complete and was copied from a portrait of Edmund by Prof. Pisa Carlo. The statue was blessed on July 31, 1984 by Fr Fitzgerald acknowledging the donation of the statue by the Williams family in memory of their brother Edmund Williams, an Old Collegian from 1932-1937.

Since 1802, when the first school began in Waterford, Ireland, Edmund Rice Education has grown in over 20 countries across the world with over 170,000 students educated to build a better world.

READ MORE: Journeying with Edmund Rice by St Patrick’s College Business Manager Mr Andrew Ballesty

Whist we cannot celebrate this day, we can reminisce on past events by clicking through the gallery below: