Edmund Rice Networking Council

Recognizing that the Charism of Blessed Edmund Rice is a gift, not only to the Christian Brothers, but the whole world, the Edmund Rice Networking Council has been established to foster communication among and between the various manifestations of the Charism emanating from or going beyond the core Edmund Rice School Network.

The Council consists of nominees from various experiences within the Edmund Rice Network.

Current members of the Council are:

Mike Dolan ACTION
Jeff Fox Faculties/Action
MaryJo Gambardella Called and Gifted
Jonathan Gray Volunteers
Thane Hall Associates
John Murphy Edmundians/Associates
Chris Tinoco College and University Students
Lilian Vernier Called and Gifted

The Council members are in the process of interviewing and asking others to interview past generations of alums of the schools, Edmundians, Associates, and former participants in ACTION, Called and Gifted, Mission Immersions, and the Volunteer Program.

We invite each other to reflect on how the experience of the Charism of Edmund Rice and the Christian Brothers might be influencing our current engagements.

Below is a sampling of initial responses to three questions asked in the interviews:

What engages you now?

Most of those interviewed have been involved in educational, medical, and social work professions. Some very clearly related their current experiences to the Charism of Blessed Edmund Rice.
Others, while not mentioning the Founder, cite the impact of the Christian Brothers and the community of concern experienced in the schools sponsored by the Brothers.
One interviewer commented that most of my responses were about Brothers bringing them closer to God. Not necessarily,
Br. Edmond Rice.

How do you connect your now to your initial Edmund Rice Christian Brother Experiences?

- My work with students continues to engage me. Ten years in Catholic schools and thirty years in public schools has afforded me great opportunities to “do the work of the Founder.”

- My link to Edmund will always be like my father before me, first and foremost through the Brothers who lived his mission and embodied his call to Sainthood. For to see a Brother, you ought to be seeing Edmund.

- Soon I will be volunteering educating children, adolescents and adults about the flora and fauna found in the park.
I’m also engaged at my parish where I sing in the choir and am a member of the Antiracism and Equity Working Group.
All these endeavors keep me busy, active and more fully alive.

I feel God’s Spirit guiding me and leading me and I sense Edmund’s charism guiding me too.

- I try to reach out to those in my community in need of the necessities of life through various church, civic and social organizations.
On a wider level I attempt to support the work of Catholic Relief Services which has the ability to reach out on a global scale to those in need.

- So many of us who spent a part of our life as a vowed member of the Congregation may have moved on to different pathways, but what we learned and experienced we have brought with us.
As a result, life engages us in different ways as we continue to “be Brother” without title, but in spirit, focus and commitment.

- My work on the parish engages me currently with those who are poor and struggling, primarily financially.
In my life experiences in the Peace Corps in Iran, and then working for the Catholic Church in parishes, schools, archdioceses and Catholic conferences, I was able to encounter those who were struggling in many venues, domestic and international.

- Right now, I’m engaged in assuring that the experiences that were so valuable and special to me are offered and experienced by the other adults I work with.
I want to spread. One of the things I love about the Edmund Rice network is that it makes teaching so much more than a job
- it becomes a family and a lifestyle.
I want people to experience the possibilities and joy that come from when your career becomes your calling.

Who are the poor whose cry you hear now?

The responses suggest grouping under the themes: Presence Compassion and Liberation


- The needy are everywhere. War, atrocities as in Ukraine, drug violence, sexual orientation discoveries, child abductions, climate change, migrations based on violence as well as water emergencies all demonstrate the Signs of the Times. All these defy rigidity and appeal for compassionate presence.

- Working with young people every day, continues to affirm that money or the lack thereof, is only one dimension of poverty. The poverty of faith and an understanding that there is a God active in one’s life and motivated through the purest love, is absent in the hearts, minds and reality of a great many young people. That spiritual poverty seems linked to a poverty of love. Many seem to live in a world without anyone who loves them and as a result, live a lonely existence. This has always existed on a certain level, but the degree of this dynamic has increased exponentially following the Covid experience.

-...much of how I deal with my family and life in general comes from the same ideas and practices I acquired as a Brother to find strength in my prayer life and to develop empathy and understanding for those I touch on a daily basis.

- My Edmund Rice experiences formed how I see the purpose of Catholic educaZon; the whole person, standing in solidarity, etc. My experiences are integrated into the way I see things and these experiences form the lens through which I see things even though I do not acZvely think about it or necessarily refer to it.

- The poor whose cry I try to listen most for is those who remain silent in their journeys through hardship; those who don’t have the support they need and do not know how to ask for help.

- It is imperaZve to build relaZonships with people for them to feel welcome to access what is available to them.


- My personal Edmund rice experience was a lot about connecZng and building relationships with people and pracZcing servant leadership. This is something that I feel I can engage with on a daily basis in my work as a physician being called to serve the needs of my patients.

- Right now, the poor whose cries are loudest to me are my underrepresented students and faculty members. I run a club at our school that is fighting against misogyny and homophobia, and I feel very passionate about making a home for all of our students, especially those who struggle to feel at home. I also am feeling inspired to advocate on behalf of my colleagues. Teaching is a profession that often takes more than gives. I feel like I’ve found my balance, and I want to help new teachers on that journey, too!

- I constantly feel drawn to those internationally who struggle with wars (Ukraine, etc.) violence, hunger and poverty.

- The students who feel marginalized in any way but especially those who are shy and feel they don’t fit in.

- I strive to create a classroom environment that prioriZzes empathy, fosters a culture of care, and empowers students to recognize their capacity for posiZve change.

- To nurture and to care are constantly themes in my life that always seem to dictate my professional and personal decisions, and I believe this need to be there for others reflects a selflessness that was embodied by teachers most dear to me.

- People suffering from depression.

Liberation (and Advocacy)

- the current experience is with those who approach Saint Vincent De Paul for rental, utility, or food assistance. We also work with a nonprofit program called Family Promise that serves families who are homeless. We rotate them weekly for living amongst various interfaith churches and, while the children attend school, the adult(s) attend a program that prepares them for work, budgeting and finding a rental apartment or house.

- Now I continue to be touched by Jesus Christ, present and appealing to me in our poor and suffering planet, so beautiful and yet so threatened. I want to make a difference by helping to educate children, young people and adults to our call to be good stewards of all of creation. I fear for future generations and the kind of world they will have to endure if we don't become more serious about facing the challenge of climate change.

- The plight of the unhoused among us and also the terrible ramifications of slavery and segregation on our Black brothers and sisters calls me to advocate on their behalf. I am learning and need to grow here.

- Being part of a community inspired a best friend from the brothers and myself to start a program which for 30 years recruited young Catholics to volunteer and serve as youth ministers, teachers and social service workers for parishes and schools in the Seattle Archdiocese.

- Drawing on the teachings of Edmund Rice, idenZfying the marginalized and hearing the cry of the poor involves culZvaZng an authenZc understanding of the diverse forms of poverty and social injusZce within our current context. It requires transcending mere material deprivaZon to recognize the mulZdimensional nature of poverty, encompassing factors such as systemic discriminaZon, unequal access to resources, and the erosion of human dignity.

-. By actively listening and engaging with marginalized voices, including those experiencing economic hardship, discriminaZon, or social exclusion, I aim to amplify their stories and advocate for change.

- At this stage in my life, I find myself recognizing that we might all be crying out for help, just at different Zmes and perhaps to varying degrees. In beginning work with lower income, homeless individuals, to working with random, anonymous folks who call in crisis, then aeending to seemingly mundane yet meaningful needs of my friends, family, and myself, I believe all calls for support are valid.

Thanks for taking the me to read these – please give thought to how we might spread the good news.