"To become better...to do a little good"...
Blessed Frederic Ozanam: 1813-1853
Blessed Frederic Ozanam (1813 - 1853)
Blessed Frederic Ozanam was founder of the Society of St Vincent de Paul. Frederic was a husband and father, professor and servant of the poor.
He founded the Society of St Vincent de Paul as a young student with others of the Sorbonne in Paris. Sister Rosalie Rendu, a Daughter of Charity, is considered a mentor
of Frederic and of the Society of St Vincent de Paul as she taught the first members the art of helping the poor and the sick. Frederic's writings on social justice
anticipated the first social encyclical of our modern times, Rerum Novarum.
Throughout his life, Ozanam's simple hope was to "become better--to do a little good." After the deaths of his father r (1837) and his mother (1839), therefore, Frederic considered seriously a vocation as a priest. In 1840, he abandoned a legal career and became a professor of literature at the Sorbonne. Though he immediately linked his life of studies to his life of charity, he did not do so as a priest. Introduced to Marie-Josphine-Amlie Soulacroix by one of his mentors P're Noirot, Ozanam married her in 1841. Together husband and wife devoted themselves to the task of reconciling married life to a life of good works. By 1852 the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul could boast 2000 conferences, 500 of which were not in France.
Sickly since birth, Ozanam's health deteriorated in the years after 1847. While visiting Italy for health and inspiration in 1852, Ozanam was stricken and his family decided to return him to his home in France. But he never reached his destination, dying en route in Marseilles on September 8, 1853 at the young age of forty.
St Vincent de Paul (1581-1660)
St Vincent de Paul was founder of the Congregation of the Mission, Daughters of Charity, Confraternities of Charity, and Ladies of Charity. A man of deep faith,
keen intellect, and enormous creativity, he has become known as the "The Apostle of Charity" and "Father of the Poor." His contributions to the training of priests
and organizing parish missions and other services for the poor shaped our Church's role in the modern world.
St Vincent de Paul was born in 1581 into a poor peasant farming family in the south of France. His early years were like those of his era: formed in the Catholic faith of his devout and loving parents, hard work on the family farm he shared with his brothers and sisters; and a desire to be more- to do more- with his life.
With his parents’ blessing, Vincent set out to study for the priesthood at University of Toulouse and achieved his goal in 1600, when ordained by the bishop of Perigueux.
After a pilgrimage to Rome and further studies, Vincent de Paul set his sights on Paris, where he sought a lucrative priestly assignment to support his parents on their farm. At first, all went well; Vincent became pastor of a parish in Clichy; then chaplain to the wealthy de Gondi family. He had what he had always wanted: status, comfort, and security.
Strangely enough, Vincent was quite unhappy and could not understand why. Little did he know that God was to use the poor country laborers on the de Gondi estate-people Vincent rarely, if ever saw- as a means of bringing about a lifelong conversion.