Edmund Ignatius Rice was born in Callan, County Kilkenny, Ireland, on 1 June 1762.
At the age of seventeen, he was apprenticed to his uncle who was in business supplying ships – a business which Edmund later inherited.
In 1785, at age 23, Edmund married Mary Elliot. In 1789, Mary died in childbirth, leaving Edmund with a disabled daughter, Mary. Edmund’s life was never the same.
Edmund’s compassion for the poor, already evident, grew even more over the next 13 years. He became increasingly conscious of the ever-widening gap between the way of life of prosperous, educated Catholics like himself and that of the poor.
By 1802, Edmund felt so called to a life of service to God that, having continued to ensure for the care of his daughter, he decided to sell his prosperous business, live in renovated stables and commence a school for the “street kids” of Waterford.
Edmund and seven companions took vows on 15th August 1808 as Religious Brothers of the Presentation, later to become the Congregation of Christian Brothers. He is one of the few people ever in the Church to found a religious congregation.
Edmund died on 29th August 1844. Trusting in God, Edmund had transformed his vision into reality. His experience had been of Christ appealing to him in the poor. Edmund’s utter conviction was that God was calling him to work with and for the poor, especially through education, enabling them to live with hope for the future. Edmund wanted them to see, as he did, what their world could be when seen with the eyes of Christ.
Edmund not only taught poor youth, he gave solace to prisoners in jail, especially those condemned to death, performed unremitting legal work for the poor who were so easily badly done by, opened his schools so that the Brothers could care for the victims of cholera epidemics, fed and clothed the poor boys who attended his schools and helped their parents with evening classes and material to read. He refused to remain immobile when confronted with grave injustices. Edmund’s strong faith was proof against discouragement and the challenges of the mission he undertook.
Edmund Rice was beatified in Rome on 6 October 1996.
Today, Edmund Rice Education Australia (EREA) is the body of schools, entities and offices offering a Catholic education in the tradition of Blessed Edmund Rice.
EREA schools strive to offer a liberating education, based on a gospel spirituality, within an inclusive community committed to justice and solidarity.
…and much more.
In 2014, the College published In Good Faith, Waverley College and the Great War 1914-1918 by Archivist, Kim Eberhard to commemorate the service and sacrifice of its Old Boys throughout WWI.
The Waverley College community played an integral role in serving its country, with ex-students amongst the troops who landed at Gallipoli on the very first ANZAC Day. Nearly 200 ex-students volunteered over the course of the war, and 19 lost their lives.
Between them, they served in every branch of the First Australian Imperial Force (1st AIF), from the Light Horse to the Flying Corps, as infantrymen, doctors, engineers, drivers, stretcher-bearers and artillery experts.
Several were decorated for bravery, including Thomas James ‘Bede’ Kenny, who was awarded a Victoria Cross.
Purchase In Good Faith, Waverley College and the Great War 1914-1918 online at:
Our work to build a stronger, networked Waverley College community is ongoing. The lives of our graduates are diverse, reaching into every sector of the community and around the world with an amazing array of talent and expertise. Daily, we discover Old Boys who are successful in their professions and business life or making a positive impact in their communities in some other way. Inspiring stories also come from ordinary lives well lived and from battles against adversity. By telling these stories we create opportunities for our alumni to make connections, to celebrate successes and to support each other. We also help our students to discover what’s possible in their own lives. So please keep sharing with us your own stories and those of your friends – in this sense Wavelength is your publication.
In this edition we have a number of great stories from Old Boys and about Old Boys. Whether at the start of your career or at the end, pursuing a sport, or at a milestone in your life, your stories are an inspiration, so please keep sending them. Every story helps to maintain and create connections, as well as build our sense of community.
Welcome to the new edition of Wavelength Magazine, a publication that creates an important connection between Waverley College and our wider community of Old Boys, families and friends. To keep you informed, we have expanded the magazine and given it a bright new look that we hope you will enjoy and find readable. Alumni news will be an important part of the new Wavelength, so I encourage you to forward to us any news you may have about reunions, major life events or achievements of our ex-students and their families. Your contributions are very welcome.
I would like to take this opportunity to recognise the many years of wonderful work done by the magazine’s previous editor and designer, Old Boy of 1962, Mr Col Blake. The hours of personal time he has dedicated to the task over the years cannot be underestimated. Of course, Col continues to be closely involved with Wavelength in his role as Vice President of the Waverley College Old Boys’ Union.
As Waverley College reinvents itself to meet new challenges in educating young people, it continues to celebrate the richness of its heritage and its significant role in our community. Wavelength plays an important role in this, helping us to understand our identity and celebrate our achievements. This could not happen without the support of the Old Boys’ Union and the College would like to acknowledge the importance of their contribution and thank them most sincerely.