Edmund Rice Education across Borders

Responding to the call and invitation from Brothers’ Chapter
Friends and Colleagues The warmest of greetings to all. 

I have just returned from a privileged experience at the Christian Brothers’ Congregational Chapter in Nairobi. These meetings come once every six years and present an opportunity for the Brothers to choose new leadership as well as explore new directions in mission and Congregational life. I will be eternally grateful for the Brothers’ warmth of welcome, the generosity of hearts and the sense of belonging I experienced in this community. 

The Chapter is calling the entire Edmund Rice movement into a new consciousness, a new way of being in the church and in the world. The fruits of this shift will emerge as we strengthen our commitment to internationality, celebrate our diversity and embrace the inspiration that abounds in our Edmund Rice family. 

The Congregation has a rich and bountiful tradition in Catholic education. Clearly the lived example of the Christian Brothers has made and is making a difference. Every culture in which the Congregation and those committed to Edmund Rice education have laboured has brought blessings of new insights into the power of the charism to be a force for life in its fullness. This is a richness that must be shared. 

How might we respond to this call and invitation? 

The capacity to share in this ‘good news’ will depend on our resolve to stop thinking in traditional, bounded ways, as important as they have been in the past, and embrace the gift we have as an international, multicultural movement inspired by a common vision for education and the future of our young. 

In the spirit of this shift being proposed by the Brothers, an initiative loosely called Edmund Rice Education Across Borders has been put forward as a vehicle in which insights into the charism of Edmund Rice, blessed and inspired by the rich variety of cultural insights from around the world, can be shared and celebrated across borders. It is an attempt to harness the richness of our internationality in Catholic education. 

The initial vision for this initiative is the formation of a global community of all undertaking Catholic education in the ER tradition around the world: 

• It will initially be loose and organic, centred on cultural insights into the charism of Edmund Rice and its special call for a ‘preferential option for the poor’ in all we do. 
• It will lead those involved in education into a deeper consciousness of their integral place in the broader Edmund Rice movement. 
• It will give priority to enhanced communication and collegiality among all involved in Edmund Rice education across the world, solidarity with each other and formation of one another. 
• Through the variety of media available to us, it will promote dialogue and connection among leaders, teachers and students and growth into what our multitude of cultures teach us as being core to our vision for Catholic education. 

There is much emerging energy for this movement. In recent months a rich variety of people involved in leadership in Catholic education in the Edmund Rice tradition in all places around the world have been in dialogue on what may emerge from this initiative. We are grateful for the wonderful support for the idea extended by the Congregation, both initially and at the Chapter meetings. 

To deepen our vision and enflesh the potential of Edmund Rice Education across Borders, a group of some 25 people made up of leaders and some Principals representing every part of the world where there is Catholic education in the Edmund Rice tradition will come together for a week at the end of May this year in Nairobi. Representing us will be myself, Brian Garrone, Br Paul Conn from CBHS Lewisham, Shaun Kenny from CBC Fremantle and John Couani from St Pius X College Chatswood. 

Please pray that the Spirit will guide us when we gather and explore the way forward for this initiative. I look forward to receiving your input and ideas prior to this gathering, before reporting back to you with a further update after these meetings. Brian Garrone or I will be in touch in coming weeks concerning the process for your involvement. 

With best wishes and many thanks 

Wayne Tinsey 
Executive Director 
Edmund Rice Education Australia