|Blessed Frederic Ozanam: 1813- 2013|
As you read this, somewhere in the world, someone is receiving help from a Catholic who is also a "Vincentian". The Society of St. Vincent de Paul is a worldwide lay apostolate whose primary function is the growth in personal holiness of its members through service to the poor.
On this day, April 23rd, the man who is responsible for this wonderful organization was born. He came from a privileged background; challenged by secularists of the time ("what are you doing to help the poor..."), Ozanam decided to put his faith into action. Thus, the Society that has spread to hundreds of countries, received many blessings from Popes, was born in Paris. And who was this great man, this saint?:
Frederic Ozanam was born at Milan in 1813; which was French territory at this time. In 1832, he commenced the study of law at the Sorbonne. In 1833, with six others, he founded the “Conference of Charity”. Sr. Rosalie Rendu helped the fledgling group of laymen make contact with the poor. From this humble beginning, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul came into being. By 1839, Ozanam had obtained two doctorates – law and literature. He also taught at the Sorbonne, becoming Professor of Foreign Literature Frederic died on 8 September 1853 at the age of 40 years. In 1997 he was beatified by Pope John Paul II. Blessed Frederic Ozanam, pray for us.
“And who is my neighbour”? ...The answer came: “the one who treated him with compassion”. And Jesus said to him: “then go and do the same”.
(St. Luke, 10, 25 – 37; Gospel for the Feast of Bl. Frederic Ozanam)