Blessed Frederic Ozanam

"Charity must never look back, but always ahead, for the number of its past benefits is always quite small, as the present and future miseries it should alleviate are infinite".--Frederic Ozanam

Frederic Ozanam, an Exemplary Life

On August 23, 1997, Blessed Frederic Ozanam was beatified -- declared "Blessed" -- by Pope St. John Paul II. Celebrations of the beatification took place in Paris, where Frederic was the primary founder of the Saint Vincent de Paul Society.

The Saint Vincent de Paul Society includes 875,000 members in 47,000 Conferences (teams) in 131 countries of five continents. A husband and father, Blessed Frederic Ozanam offers an example of living with integrity and charity. His efforts anticipated the attention given by Vatican II to the lay apostalate, and he worked also to infuse a vision of service and discipleship in youth.

Frederic Ozanam was a 20 year old university student in Paris when he founded the first "Conference of Charity" in 1833. The Members of that first Conference chose Saint Vincent de Paul as their patron saint, citing him as a model on earth and a protector in heaven. They then placed the Society under the protection of the Blessed Virgin and every year on the 8th of December, the members would renew their request to Our Blessed Lady, that she guide them in their charitable deeds.

First a student and then an eminent professor at Lyon and later at Paris, at the Sorbonne, all through his life Frederic Ozanam demonstrated courage, which he found in his deep faith. His close friends used to call him "audacious, yet gently tenacious." In June 1841, 28 year old Frederic married Amélie Soulacroix and their only child, Marie, was born in 1845. Frederic Ozanam, apostle of charity, exemplary spouse and father, grand figure of the Catholic laity of the nineteenth century, died at the age of 40, on September 8th, the Feast of the Birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

He was beatified by Pope John-Paul II in Notre Dame de Paris Basilica on August 22, 1997. His Feast Day is celebrated on September 9th.

Read more about the history of the Society on their national website here.

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Blessed Frederic Ozanam

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