Presentation alumnus – Gifted & Enrichment Teacher - Canada
I have the privilege of teaching at Brebeuf College School in Toronto. Brebeuf is also my alma mater and the last Presentation Brothers’ school in Canada. I am fiercely proud of our links with the order. Although I’ve read every book there is on Edmund Rice, whom I find fascinating and inspirational, I believe that I truly have come to know Edmund Rice more through my personal association and interaction with the Presentation Brothers than from any book. I’m quite proud to be one of their Lay Associates and friends.
I was blessed to be taught and influenced by the Brothers in my years as a student. Whether they were teachers, administrators, chaplains, or volunteers, they were men of faith and prayer who served with humility and dedication. In my own role as a teacher today, I consciously try to emulate the best of their characteristics. Our staff and students are lucky to have had such men to influence them over the years, and it is not hard to witness the Edmund Rice charism that remains.
When I was a first-year student in Grade 9, Edmund Rice wasn’t much more than a picture on the wall, although I recall being told about his basic biography. As I got to know the Brothers better, I became interested in their mission. Brothers would return from visits to Africa or the Caribbean with stories of the Brothers’ institutions helping the poor. Our rugby teams went on tours to Ireland and the UK and played other Presentation Schools. I slowly developed a fierce pride in being from a ‘Presentation School’ and called “one of Brother Maher’s boys”.
Now, whenever I visit Ireland – which, being a Hibernophile, is often - I enjoy visiting the sites where Edmund worked and lived. As a teacher, I try to keep the Presentation spirit and ethos familiar to the Brebeuf boys and the teachers, and this energizes me.
I also help to run our Faith, Peace, and Justice Club which tries to work for social justice in our school and beyond. The group organizes a symposium for Catholic high school students across Toronto every December, with the hope that the speakers and workshops will spur other youth to start to thirst for justice. This year’s theme was ‘homelessness’. The group also sponsors a child in the Philippines and will write letters this year for Edmund Rice International initiatives.
Every November I plan a Vocations Day to give a chance for the Brothers, the Jesuits, and the diocesan clergy to speak to the students and hopefully sow the seeds for future service to the church. From the work the boys do as part of the Edmund Rice Volunteer Awards, I am confident many will serve the Church in the future.
This year I am on the committee helping to plan the 100th Anniversary Celebrations of the Presentation Brothers in Canada. Learning more about the contributions of the Congregation to Catholic Education and the Church in Canada inspires me to want to do more to ensure that the Edmund Rice legacy in the Presentation tradition will continue long into the future. May Our Lady of the Presentation and Blessed Edmund Rice continue to intercede for me and direct my discernment.
Website of Brebeuf College School: www.brebeufcollege.ca