In the early part of the nineteenth century when the Penal Laws were relaxed, and the ban which was placed on the Catholic education of youth in Ireland during a long period of persecution was removed, great efforts were made to employ the opportunities which a comparative freedom placed within the reach of Irish Catholics, and several new religious congregations of both men and women sprang into existence. Amongst these was the Institute of Presentation Brothers founded [in 1802] by [Blessed] Edmund Ignatius Rice. The Brothers continued a diocesan congregation approved of by Rome until 1889, when a change was effected in the constitution of the body with a view to its more rapid development. With the sanction of the bishops under whom the Brothers then laboured, all the houses of the Institute were united under a superior-general and Leo XIII approved and confirmed the new constitutions. The rapid spread of the order since then has been very marked. It now has several branches in each of the provinces of Ireland, and is also established in England and Canada. The Brothers conduct colleges, primary schools, industrial schools, and orphanages. A new novitiate and training college has been erected at Mount St. Joseph, Cork. The superior-general resides there. The Commissioners of National Education, after investigating the methods of training adopted by the institute, fully approved of them and recognized the training college. In the colleges, special attention is paid to the teaching of experimental science. Classes are taught in connection with the Intermediate Education Board and Technical Department. Students are prepared for the Civil Service as well as for the National University. In the industrial schools and orphanages, in addition to the ordinary school studies, various trades are taught, as also agriculture and horticulture. Moreover, all the boys get a two years' course in manual instruction.
[ Note: Edmund Ignatius Rice (b. 1762; d. 29 August, 1844), the founder of both the Presentation Brothers and the Irish Christian Brothers, was beatified by Pope John Paul II in Rome on 6 October, 1996.]
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