Available for freelance writing commissions on a variety of subjects including family history, nostalgic Belfast and its famous people, shops, shoppers & shopping, the golden age of Hollywood (esp westerns) and humorous pieces on life's weird and wonderful. Op-eds, columns, non-fiction book reviews too.
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I have a portfolio of features, reviews, poetry and short fiction published in all sorts of places - Belfast Telegraph, Tribune, Ireland's Own, Dalhousie Review, Fairlight Books, Reader's Digest, Reality, Lapwing Poetry, Ink, Sweat & Tears, Spillwords, Dear Reader, Amethyst Review, to name a selection. Oh, and the odd BBC radio contribution.
This is a series of very, very short items that have nothing to do with the current news agenda. Swift diversions for a moment or two.
Apropos of Nothing #18 – 5 May
The 5th of May is designated as the feast day of Blessed Edmund Ignatius Rice (1 June, 1762 – 29 August, 1844). He was a missionary who founded the Congregation of Christian Brothers.
He was born in Callan, County Kilkenny. He was a successful businessman but not averse to tragedy. After an accident that killed his wife and left his newly-born daughter disabled and with learning difficulties, he devoted his life to education, charitable work and religion.
The Christian Brothers (Facere et docere – to do and to teach) began circa 1802 and over more than 200 years, the congregation has thrived all over the world. Like the wider Catholic Church, sexual, emotional and physical abuse scandals involving young children severely damaged the reputation of the order.
My personal recollections of being taught at St. Mary’s Christian Brothers Grammar School, Glen Road, Belfast are generally happy, although I was not too fond of corporal punishment either by cane, strap or, occasionally, a slap across the face. There is a legend that one Brother had made a strap of two strips of leather and, after inserting coins in between, the two pieces were sewn together for maximum punishment and pain. I believe it.
So, on Blessed Edmund Ignatius Rice’s feast day, I think a tremendous amount of great education and missionary work has been done and is still being done all over the world by Christian Brothers and I have to believe that the good outweighs the despicable, disgraceful and grubby behaviour of some of its members.
To honour his personal motivation and commitment to help the disadvantaged, there is a campaign to elevate Edmund Rice to sainthood, and being declared 'Blessed' in 1996 by Pope John Paul II, kick-started the gathering of evidence to support the cause.
Blessed Edmund Ignatius Rice is buried at Mount Sion, Waterford.