Sacred Story recalls in music and the song the life and times of Edmund Rice. His legacy has few parallels in Irish history. Born in 1762 in Callan Co. Kilkenny into a land of great suffering, the Penal Laws being enforced, it was a time of great persecution, deprivation and religious oppression. Against this background the young Edmund Rice grew up, in a Gaelic heartland with all the traits of ancient Irish tradition.
In 1778 Edmund joined his uncle running the successful family shipping business which had developed trading links with England, the Continent and especially Newfoundland. Here in Waterford he met Mary Elliot the daughter of a business man, and in 1785 they were married. At 23 years old Edmund had become a successful business man with a loving wife and promising future. Four years later tragedy struck. While expecting her first child, his wife went into premature labour due to a fall from a horse. She died at child birth and the baby, christened Mary Rice, was handicapped. One can only imagine the intensity of grief that was carried in the heart of Edmund Rice. There is no doubt that the death of his beloved wife and the birth of his little daughter had a profound influence on Edmund and was to radically alter the course of his life.
His quotation "Cast all your cares into the arms of Divine Providence" found reality in the decisions that Edmund Rice was about to make. It could be said that the brokeness of his little daughter served as a prism through which he saw the wounded and broken society all around him - ignorance, wretchedness and illiteracy. Without dignity, most people lived in great destitution.
Edmund Rice became acutely aware of such pain, sold his house along with his thriving business and established a school for Waterfords neglected in an old stable. What was his driving force? - A desire to live the gospel of Jesus, with the poorest of the poor. In embracing poverty he experienced the loneliness of misunderstanding and yet with great zeal he worked to perfect his own form of education and care for those who were without ... and there were many. Central to an education system that seemed far ahead of its time was the importance of the spiritual life which he sought to develop for who all who came into his care. Realising this could not be done alone he invited others to join his way of life to give their lives in the service of Gods poor.
In 1809, he and his companies were invested with the habit of religion but it was not until 1822 that his order was approved in Rome and Edmund Ignatius Rice became Superior General - From this congregation grew also the Presentation Brothers. He would guide his Brothers until six years before his death. In August 1844 Edmund Rice was called to his heavenly reward. On the sixth of October 1996 Edmund Rice was declared Blessed.
1. Laudamus Te Domine
3. Glory to God
4. Psalm 34 - The God of Life
5. Gospel Acclamation
7. Holy, Holy
8. Memorial Acclamation
9. Great Amen
10. Lamb of God
11. Mo Ghra-sa Mo Dhia
12. Pity Then The Child
13. Sacred Story
For the past number of years Liam Lawton has been writing, composing and performing his unique style of inspirational music. In March 2004 Liam's talents were recognized by recording giant EMI who signed him for a number of albums. His EMI debut Another World was released in Ireland later that year featuring guest artists as Brian Kennedy, The Celtic Tenors, Fionnuala Sherry of Secret Garden, Moya Brennan, Eimear Quinn, Roisin O'Reilly amongst others. This album achieved double platinum status and was followed by his second album Time which also was hugely successful. Time was recorded with the National Philharmonic Orchestra in the beautiful city of Prague with arrangements by well known Chicago Symphony arranger Gary Fry. Liam's third album Christmas Song includes a collection of Liam's own favourite Christmas pieces with some new original music also.
Liam Lawton's music has been recognized for its unique quality. His poetic lyrics are inspired by many sources including the ancient texts of Celtic Ireland, he is also at home writing contemporary music. Much of Liam's inspiration is drawn from the landscape of Ireland with its own dark and rich history. His melodies are full of pathos and can stir the heart and his music has been used in many an auspicious occasions for example the memorial services of 9/11 to concerts in such places as the Vatican, The White House and The Chicago Symphony Hall to the weddings of pop stars and glitterati. Liam's choral music is used by choirs all over the English speaking world and has been translated into Spanish, German and Swedish.