A relic of Blessed Edmund Rice is to be displayed at the heart of the new sports hall and music block at St Joseph’s College in Trent Vale, Staffordshire.
Headteacher Roisin Maguire said: “It is wonderful to have such a tangible presence of the spiritual father of our school community. The life and works of the Blessed Edmund Rice remain the inspiration for all that we are trying to achieve at St. Joseph’s and this relic will focus all our minds for years to come on his amazing global legacy.”
Edmund Ignatius Rice was born in Waterford in 1762 at a time when Catholics faced oppression under Penal Laws enforced by the British authorities.
He forged a successful career in business, but after a tragic accident which killed his wife and left his daughter disabled, he devoted his life to the education and service of the poor dying at the age of 82 in 1844.
The Christian Brothers have since spread his message to all four of the globe with many hundreds of Christian Brothers’ schools in Australia, Africa, Asia and the Americas as well as seven major schools.
Caroline Cirino, head of Religious Education, said: “It is a privilege to have a first-class relic of Blessed Edmund Rice in School. We managed to gain this object, one of only 500 in existence, via the Edmund Rice Office for England in Hale Barns.
“It was given to the school to bestow blessings on the school community and the wider family, specifically to be housed within the new sports hall. The hope is that it will bring a new type of prayer into the school, an abundance of blessings on all those who venerate it, and a sense of connection to the global Edmund Rice family.”
Fr Rob Taylerson, St Joseph’s College chaplain, said: “From early days Christians have dug up the bodies of those martyred for the faith, and of Christian men and women of powerful holiness and virtue.
“Their bones have been venerated with gestures of respect, esteem and friendship as we ask them to pray for us and we try to follow their way of life. Their bones remind us that those in heaven and those on earth are not two communities, but one, the Church.”