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Authority record

Presentation Brothers

  • PB
  • Corporate body
  • 1795-2021

The Presentation Brothers are an international, Catholic congregation of religious brothers, founded in 1802 by Blessed Edmund Rice in Waterford, Ireland. The expressed mission of the Presentation Brothers is to "form Christ in the Young" and traditionally they have worked to achieve this through education.

Edmund Rice was born in the townland of Westcourt near the village of Callan in County Kilkenny on 1 June 1762. His parents, Robert Rice and Margaret Tierney Murphy, were prosperous farmers. At the age of 17, Rice was apprenticed to his uncle, Michael Rice, in Waterford city. Several years later, Edmund’s uncle signed the business over to him and Edmund began to invest his growing fortune in land and property. At the age of 25, Edmund married Mary Elliott but, sadly, Mary died in January 1789 following a horse-riding accident. Edmund and Mary had a daughter who was also called Mary.

After his wife’s death, Rice became more religious and he developed a devotion to St. Teresa of Avila. He also became involved in charitable works and regularly visited the poor of Waterford providing financial assistance to those in need. In 1798, Edmund helped the Presentation Sisters open a convent and school for girls in Waterford. Rice decided to try something similar for young boys, and in 1800 he began to teach youngsters at his business premises in Barronstrand Street with the assistance of some volunteers. The following year, Rice converted some stables on New Street into a makeshift school. His friends and colleagues described it as an act of "mad folly". Two men, Patrick Grosvenor and Patrick Finn, arrived to help. The three men lived above the school where they prayed together and shared their possessions. This school would go on to be known as Mount Sion Primary School which exists to this day.

Between 1802, when he opened his first school and 1808, Rice gathered around him a group of companions to help him in his work. These first Brothers took their vows on 15th August 1808 in the chapel of the Presentation Convent, Waterford, and together they became known as the Society of the Presentation. They lived their religious life based on the Rule of the Presentation Sisters (founded by the Venerable Nano Nagle in 1775), adapted for men. The Presentation Rule defined the new institute as a diocesan institute. This meant that, initially in Waterford, and later on in other dioceses where the Brothers worked, the local Bishop was their Superior. Unlike institutes of pontifical rite, the new religious institute had no Superior General of its own.

As the work of Edmund Rice expanded to Dublin, Cork and other Irish cities and towns, a need for central planning and direction emerged in the developing educational mission of the Brothers. From 1817 onwards, Edmund Rice began to consider adopting a constitution along the lines of that used by the Brothers of the Christian Schools in France. The De La Salle Brothers were an institute of pontifical rite, and had their own Superior General and elected administration. They were, to a great extent, independent of local bishops and this gave them great freedom in the development and expansion of their work. Rice felt that the Presentation Rule had served the group well in its early years, but Rome would only grant his group pontifical status if they adopted a pontifical rule already in existence. He decided to propose to his Brothers that the group should adopt a new De La Salle style rule. Controversy and debate ensued over a number of years and ultimately led to a division within the group. The vast majority of the Brothers ultimately accepted the adoption of a rule along the lines of that used by the Brothers of the Christian Schools in France. A minority of two continued to live the Presentation Rule and remained under the jurisdiction of their local bishops. The majority, known as the Christian Brothers since 1822, elected Edmund Rice as their first Superior General. The group experienced considerable expansion and development during the following decades.

Of the two Brothers who chose to remain with the Presentation Rule, Brother John Ignatius Mulcahy taught at a school in Cappoquin, County Waterford until his death in 1845. He was not joined by any followers. The second Brother, Michael Augustine Riordan of Cork, was joined by a number of followers and continued to follow the Presentation rule.

Brother Michael Augustine Riordan had entered the North Monastery in Cork in 1814 (there had been a community of Brothers in Cork since 1811; Brother Jerome O'Connor and Brother John Baptist Leonard founded the Peacock Lane Monastery, also known as the North Presentation Monastery, and were given charge of the Cork Charitable Society’s North School off Chapel Lane by the Bishop of Cork, Dr Francis Moylan). There had been considerable division in the North Monastery concerning the acceptance of the new rule over a number of years. An architect by profession, Riordan had helped in the building of many Cork churches before his entrance to the Brothers. His personal sense of loyalty to the then Bishop of Cork, John Murphy, greatly influenced his decision to remain with the Presentation Rule. In 1827, with the support of Bishop Murphy, he left the North Monastery and was given a house in Douglas Street, on the south side of the city. This became known as the South Monastery and Brother Riordan was joined there by some companions who lived as Presentation Brothers under the jurisdiction of the Bishop of Cork.

The Brothers began to conduct two schools in the city, one in the South Monastery itself, another a Lancasterian School on Great George's Street, today known as Washington Street. Thus, Brother Riordan played a pivotal role in the survival of the Institute of Presentation Brothers who would continue to live the original rule chosen by Edmund Rice and his early companions.

The Presentation Brothers continued their work in the Cork schools and expanded to Kerry in 1838. A foundation was made in Deptford, England in 1876 and in Birr, Co. Offaly, in 1879. By the 1870s however, a new younger group of Brothers began to address the issue of diocesan versus central control. As various types of schools were founded in diverse places, it became obvious that the Presentation Congregation should develop from its present diocesan status to being an institute of pontifical rite. In 1874, the Bishops of Cork and Kerry, on behalf of the Brothers, requested Rome to grant pontifical approval to the Presentation Institute. A Decree was received from Rome in the same year granting temporary approvaI. In 1885, the Presentation Brothers submitted a petition to Rome requesting its approval for a central government for the Presentation Institute under its own Superior General. By 1889, Rome granted temporary approval and final approbation came ten years later in 1899.

Throughout these developments, the Brothers retained the original Presentation Rule. Changes were inserted however to allow for a central government under a superior general and council. The first formal general chapter of the Brothers of the Presentation Institute was held in the South Monastery Cork in July 1889. Brother Patrick Shine was elected superior general and with him four assistants to help in the government of the Congregation.

The number of communities and schools established and managed by the Presentation Brothers greatly increased in the subsequent decades, both in Ireland (including Cork, Cobh, Kinsale, Bray, Dungannon, Enniskillen, Carrick-on-Shannon, Boyle, Letterkenny) and overseas (including Canada, USA, Ghana, Nigeria, Barbados, Grenada, St Lucia, Trinidad and Tobago, Peru, and Slovakia).

The Presentation Brothers have a presence in a number of these locations to the present day, and continue to work in the area of education as well as a wider range of ministries including with the homeless, elderly, disadvantaged youth and the Roma people.

Much of this history of the Presentation Brothers was sourced from 'The Contribution of the Presentation Brothers to Irish Education 1960-1998: A Study of a Roman Catholic Religious Teaching Institute in a Time of Change and Transition', a PhD thesis written and submitted to the University of Hull by Br Michael Martin Kenneally.

Quinn, Raphael, 1888-1940, Capuchin priest

  • IE CA DB/64
  • Person
  • 3 December 1888-6 February 1940

Peter Quinn, the son of Thomas and Teresa Quinn, was born in Rhode, King’s County (Offaly), on 3 December 1888. He joined the Capuchin Order in the novitiate at Rochestown, County Cork, in August 1906, taking Raphael as his religious name. His degrees were taken at the National University of Ireland, and he also spent some time studying in the Gregorian University in Rome. Following the completion of his ecclesiastical studies in Rochestown, he was ordained to the priesthood in Holy Trinity Church, Cork, on 5 July 1914. After working for some years in Kilkenny, he travelled to the United States in 1919. He was appointed Pastor in Ukiah, California, in 1922. Here his energy was devoted to the building of St. Mary’s Church and supervising improvements to the adjoining presbytery. The church was opened and blessed by the Most Rev. Edward J. Hanna, Archbishop of San Francisco, on 25 March 1924. Fr. Quinn was also responsible for the building of St. Anthony’s Parish Church in Willits (just north of Ukiah) in Mendocino County, California. Aside from his parochial duties, he was also well known for his ministry to Native Americans (most notably the Pomo Indians of California). In 1925 he was elected Pastor and Superior of Sacred Heart Parish in Lincoln, Nebraska. He remained in Lincoln for nine years, building a new parish church and school. He was also responsible for bringing the Sisters of the Blessed Virgin Mary from Dubuque (Iowa) to teach in the local parochial school and served as chaplain in the state penitentiary. In 1932 a fire (caused by a faulty radio) engulfed the Lincoln parish rectory building. Adam Sassenberger, the parish caretaker who was staying at the house at the time, perished in the blaze. Raphael Quinn suffered serious injuries in the incident from which he never fully recovered. He returned to Ukiah in 1934 and remained there until his death (following a long illness) on 6 February 1940. He was buried in the Catholic Cemetery in Ukiah.

Baptismal name: Peter Quinn
Religious name: Fr. Raphael Quinn OFM Cap.
Date of birth: 3 Dec. 1888
Place of birth: Rhode, County Offaly (Diocese of Kildare & Leighlin)
Name of father: Thomas Quinn
Name of mother: Teresa Quinn (née Dunne)
Date of reception into the Capuchin Order: 26 Aug. 1906
Date of first profession: 17 Sept. 1907
Date of final profession: 21 Jan. 1912
Date of ordination (as priest): 5 July 1914
Educational attainments: BA, 1911
Missionary assignments: Travelled to the United States in Nov. 1919
Date of death: 6 Feb. 1940
Place of death: Ukiah, California

Quinn, Salvator, 1918-2000, Capuchin priest

  • Person
  • 21 February 1918-15 August 2000

Baptismal name: Hugh Quinn
Religious name: Fr. Salvator Quinn OFM Cap.
Date of birth: 21 Feb. 1918
Place of birth: Ardkeen, Portaferry, County Down (Diocese of Down and Connor)
Name of father: Patrick Quinn (Farmer)
Name of mother: Elizabeth Quinn (née Dynes)
Date of reception into the Capuchin Order: 3 Oct. 1938
Date of first profession: 4 Oct. 1939
Date of final profession: 4 Oct. 1942
Date of ordination (as priest): 20 June 1946
Educational attainments: BA, 2nd class hons, University College Cork (1942)
Missionary activities: Travelled to the Prefecture of Victoria Falls, Northern Rhodesia (later Zambia) on 29 Nov. 1946; Guardian, Christ the King Mission, Maramba, Zambia; Vicar General of the Diocese of Livingstone, 1950-72; Secretary to Bishop Timothy Phelim O’Shea, Bishop Adrian Mung'andu and Bishop Raymond Mpezele in Livingstone.
Date of death: 15 Aug. 2000
Place of death: Raheny, Dublin
Place of burial: Dardistown Cemetery, County Dublin

Ratigan, Robert, 1906-1983, Capuchin priest

  • IE CA DB/185
  • Person
  • 4 October 1906-1 February 1983

George Albert Ratigan was born in County Roscommon on 4 October 1906. He entered the Capuchin novitiate at the age of twenty-four and took Robert as his religious name. He spent the three years of his simple profession at St. Bonaventure’s Hostel in Cork and took his philosophy degree from University College Cork. He was solemnly professed as a Capuchin friar on 4 October 1934. Following four years of theological study at Ard Mhuire Friary in County Donegal, he was ordained to the priesthood in St. Eunan’s Cathedral in Letterkenny on 19 June 1938. His first assignment was in Kilkenny (1938-41) which was followed by two years with the Church Street community in Dublin. He returned to Kilkenny in 1943 and he remained there until 1952. He volunteered for missionary work in the Irish Capuchin custody in the United States in 1955. He did parish supply work in several parishes on the East Coast of the United States while stationed at St. Patrick’s Friary in Wilmington, Delaware. In 1964 he spent some time at Our Lady of Angels in Burlingame, California. From there he went to St. Joseph’s Parish in Oregon. He also conducted missions and was active in parish work in Ukiah, California, and in Roseburg, Oregon. He returned to Ireland in 1969 and was appointed once again to Kilkenny where he remained until his death on 1 February 1983. He was buried in the Capuchin plot in Foulkstown Cemetery, County Kilkenny.

Baptismal name: George Albert Ratigan
Religious name: Fr. Robert Ratigan OFM Cap.
Date of birth: 4 Oct. 1906
Place of birth: Rathmore South, Kilbride, County Roscommon (Diocese of Elphin)
Name of father: Michael Ratigan
Name of mother: Catherine Ratigan (née Doyle)
Date of reception into the Capuchin Order: 3 Oct. 1930
Date of first profession: 4 Oct. 1931
Date of final profession: 4 Oct. 1934
Date of ordination (as priest): 19 June 1938
Educational attainments: BA (1934)
Missionary activities: Travelled to the United States mission in 1955. He returned to Ireland in 1969.
Date of death: 1 Feb. 1983
Place of death: Kilkenny
Place of burial: Foulkstown Cemetery, County Kilkenny

Rice, Canice, 1870-1896, Capuchin priest

  • Person
  • 26 May 1870-23 February 1896

Baptismal name: James Rice
Religious name: Fr. Canice Rice OFM Cap.
Date of birth: 26 May 1870
Place of birth: James Street, Kilkenny (Diocese of Ossory)
Name of father: William Rice (Police Constable)
Name of mother: Jane Rice (née Kennedy)
Date of death: 23 Feb. 1896
Place of death: Church Street, Dublin

Rice, Fidelis, 1881-1963, Capuchin brother

  • IE CA DB/85
  • Person
  • 28 May 1881-9 August 1963

Joseph Rice was born in County Laois on 28 May 1881. He joined the Capuchin Order on 1 May 1913 and took Fidelis as his religious name. The greater part of his religious life was spent in Rochestown Friary in County Cork where he worked as a cook. However, he also spent time in the Kilkenny community where he was entrusted with the training of lay brother candidates and novices as Brother Master. He also spent shorter periods in St. Bonaventure’s Hostel in Cork and in Ard Mhuire Friary in County Donegal in the early years of these foundations. His later years were spent in St. Mary of the Angels on Church Street in Dublin. Afflicted by long periods of ill-health, he died on 9 August 1963. He was buried in the cemetery adjoining the Capuchin Friary in Rochestown in County Cork.

Baptismal name: Joseph Rice
Religious name: Br. Fidelis Rice OFM Cap.
Date of birth: 28 May 1881
Place of birth: Ardateggle, County Laois (Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin)
Name of father: Martin Rice (Farmer)
Name of mother: Mary Rice (née Heffernan)
Date of reception into the Capuchin Order: 1 May 1913
Date of first profession: 1 May 1914
Date of final profession: 8 Sept. 1918
Date of death: 9 Aug. 1963
Place of burial: Cemetery, Rochestown Capuchin Friary, County Cork

Riordan, Urban, 1891-1972, Capuchin priest

  • IE CA DB/81
  • Person
  • 15 September 1891-1 November 1973

Louis Riordan was born in Leeds in England on 15 September 1891. He joined the Irish Province of the Capuchin Franciscans in September 1911 and took Urban as his religious name. Soon after his ordination he was sent to the mission custody established by the Irish Capuchins on the west coast of the United States. He was assigned to St. Mary’s parish in Ukiah, Mendocino County, California. During his time in Ukiah, he wrote a short account on the ministry of the Irish friars in the United States. In 1929 he was transferred to the Blessed Sacrament mission in Elk, California, where he ministered until 1936. From 1941 to 1945 he was an associate pastor at Our Lady of Angels parish in Hermiston in Oregon. He returned to Ireland in 1951 and was appointed to communities in Church Street, Dublin, Holy Trinity, Cork, and the Church of St. Francis in Kilkenny. His final years were spent in the Capuchin house in Raheny in Dublin. He died on 1 November 1973 and was buried in Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin.

Baptismal name: Louis Riordan
Religious name: Fr. Urban Riordan OFM Cap.
Date of birth: 15 Sept. 1891
Place of birth: Leeds, England
Name of father: William Riordan
Name of mother: Johanna Riordan (née Ryan)
Date of reception into the Capuchin Order: 17 Sept. 1911
Date of first profession: 17 Sept. 1912
Date of final profession: 8 July 1916
Date of ordination (as priest): 3 May 1918
Missionary assignments: Travelled to the United States in November 1919; Returned to Ireland in 1951.
Date of death: 1 Nov. 1973
Place of death: Church Street, Dublin
Place of burial: Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin

Roche, Fintan, 1898-1953, Capuchin priest

  • IE CA DB/96
  • Person
  • 30 July 1898-9 May 1953

Daniel Roche was born in Newcastle West in County Limerick on 30 July 1898. He was educated in the local primary school in Newcastle West and later at the Capuchin College in Rochestown, County Cork. He entered the Capuchin Order in August 1914 and took Fintan as his religious name. He made his solemn profession as a friar in 1920. He graduated with a philosophy degree from University College Cork and studied theology at Rochestown. He was ordained a priest by Bishop Daniel Cohalan in Holy Trinity Church, Cork, on 29 June 1923. Shortly after his ordination, in October 1923, he travelled to the United States as a missionary friar. Ten years later, he became one of the pioneering missionaries in the newly established Capuchin mission territory in Barotseland in Northern Rhodesia. While in Africa, he contributed regularly to ‘The Father Mathew Record’, a popular monthly publication of the Irish Capuchins which promoted the Order’s overseas’ missions (particularly in Africa). He returned to Ireland in 1940 to engage in fundraising activities to support the Order’s missionary endeavours. A decision was made to send Fr. Fintan back to the United States in January 1944. However, he suffered a serious accident during his transatlantic passage when the ship he was travelling on encountered a severe storm. He continued to suffer from ill-health in the years following his return to America. He spent some years as Pastor in McKenzie Bridge, a picturesque if isolated region located about halfway between Roseburg and Bend in Oregon on the American Pacific coast. In 1950, he described his life in McKenzie Bridge as ‘nothing strange, weeding and Mass every day and peace’. However, his health continued to decline and following several heart attacks he left his remote rural abode in Oregon to reside in California. He died in the Capuchin Friary in Flintridge, north of Los Angeles in California on 9 May 1953.

Baptismal name: Daniel Roche
Religious name: Fr. Fintan Roche OFM Cap.
Date of birth: 30 July 1898
Place of birth: Newcastle West, County Limerick
Name of father: James Roche (Shopkeeper)
Name of mother: Anne Roche (née Downey)
Date of reception into the Capuchin Order: 27 Aug. 1914
Date of first profession: 8 Sept. 1915
Date of final profession: 21 Mar. 1920
Date of ordination: 29 June 1923
Educational attainments: BA, 1919
Missionary activities: Travelled to the United States on 14 Oct. 1923; Travelled to Africa in 1933; Returned to Ireland in 1940; Travelled to the United States in January 1944
Date of death: 9 May 1953
Place of death: Flintridge, California

Rope, Henry Edward George, 1880-1978, Catholic priest

  • Person
  • 23 October 1880-1 March 1978

Henry Edward George Rope was a writer, poet, editor, and priest widely known in the Catholic Church for his traditionalist views. He was the elder brother of Margaret Agnes Rope, a stained-glass artist, a nephew of Ellen Mary Rope, a sculptor, and George Thomas Rope, a painter, and naturalist, as well as a cousin of M.E. Aldrich Rope, another stained-glass artist. He was ordained at St. John Lateran in Rome on 27 February 1915. He served in the Shrewsbury Diocese up until 1937, in which year, on 30 October, he took up the position of archivist in the Venerable English College in Rome. His positions as a priest included Chester St Werburgh 1915-17, Crewe 1917-18, Plowden, Shropshire 1918-24, Market Drayton 1924-25, and chaplain at Mawley Hall (near Cleobury Mortimer) 1925-37. His tenure in Rome was interrupted by the Second World War, during which he served as a chaplain at the Convent of the Sacred Heart in Albrighton Hall, Shrewsbury (1940-44). He re-joined the Venerable English College and on his return to Rome after the war in 1946, again served as archivist, until December 1957. Returning to England, he settled at the Carmelite Monastery, Quidenham, Norfolk, where his sister Margaret Agnes Rope, the stained-glass artist, had died some four years previously. Due to his writings and his work as archivist at the Venerable English College in Rome, he was well known in his lifetime, particularly within church circles. He nurtured friendships with many prominent lay Catholics and clergy which in turn generated a wealth of correspondence. Aside from Benedict Williamson (1868-1948), a church architect and later Catholic priest, on whom he wrote a two-part monograph, Rope is associated with G.K. Chesterton, Hilaire Belloc, John Hawes, and many others. Henry Rope died in London on 1 March 1978 and was buried in the graveyard attached to the Church of St. Michael and the Holy Family in Kesgrave, Suffolk.

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