Presentation Brothers

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The popular name for the Brothers of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (FPM), a congregation of brothers whose principal ministry is the education of children and youth. In 1802 a mitigation in the Penal Laws, which had outlawed Catholic education in Ireland, permitted Edmund rice, the founder, to open a school in Waterford for poor boys. He and a few companions began to lead a religious life according to the constitutions of the recently founded Sisters of the presentation of mary of Cork. In 1809 they took vows and were henceforth called Presentation Brothers. Schools were then opened in other cities. In 1821 Rice and a majority of the brothers voted to adopt the rule of the christian brothers of St. John Baptist de la salle. Thus originated the irish christian brothers, whose first superior general was Rice. A few of the brothers, led by Brother Michael Augustine Riordan chose to remain with the original Cork community. Other brothers joined Riordan and continued to live according to the original Presentation rule. Each house was autonomous in regard to personnel and finances, and was subject to the local bishop. In 1889, however, the Holy See approved an amendment to the constitutions that allowed central government. Papal approbation was formally granted in 1899. Subsequently, the brothers expanded from Ireland into England, Canada, United States, the West Indies, Peru, and Ghana. The general motherhouse is at Mount St. Joseph, Cork, Ireland. In the U.S., the brothers have houses in Kissimmee, FL and Knoxville, TN.

[d. s. burke/eds.]