On this day: Bl. Frederic Ozanam

by Gerelyn Hollingsworth

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On this day we celebrate the feast of Blessed Frederic Ozanam, husband, father, lawyer, author, Dante scholar, professor in the Sorbonne, founder of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul.

"Frederic Ozanam was schooled in law, literature and philosophy, and he taught at the university level in Lyon and Paris. Frederic and six companions founded the Society of St. Vincent de Paul on April 23, 1833. On June 23, 1841 Frederic married Amelie Soulacroix, and their child Marie, was born in 1845. This exemplar of the lay apostolate in the realms of family, society and intellect succumbed to ill health and died on September 8, 1853. Pope John Paul II beatified Frederic Ozanam in Paris on August 22, 1997, declaring September 9 as his feast day."

--Society of St. Vincent de Paul, Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston.

"He made it his ideal, in an unbelieving and money-loving age, to serve truth for truth's sake. He was born poor, and he had a great, almost a morbid, fear of poverty, yet he chose to remain poor all his life rather than swerve in the least degree from the high and narrow path that he had chosen at the outset. He did a noble work, which still lives and bears witness to the power of love. He has left a golden mark upon his generation."

--Frederic Ozanam, Professor at the Sorbonne: His Life and Works, by Kathleen O'Meara, 1876, page vi. This book, which may be read free online, places Ozanam in the context of Paris in the first half of the 19th century, a difficult time for Catholics, and a desperate time for the poor. Ozanam and his co-founders, "weak Samaritans", with the encouragement and guidance of Blessed Rosalie Rendu, D. C., began the great work that continues today.

Click here for more information about Blessed Frederic Ozanam on the web site of the Council of the United States, Society of St. Vincent de Paul. Notice the links at the bottom. "Frederic Ozanam, A Lay Saint for Our Times" is excellent.

Click here for a Gospel reading for the feast, a litany, and a reflection by Blessed Frederic Ozanam from Praying With Frederic Ozanam, by Ronald Ransom, C.M., Word Among Us Press, 2004.

Click here to hear Blessed Frederic Ozanam's name pronounced. (O'Meara explains the origins of his surname. His Jewish ancestors were Hosannam.)

Click here to find a St. Vincent de Paul council, thrift store, etc., in your area.

Click here for the Homily of John Paul II at the Beatification of Frederic Ozanam at Notre-Dame de Paris in 1897. ". . . we can see in him a precursor of the social doctrine of the Church which Pope Leo XXIII would develop some years later in the Encyclical Rerum Novarum."

In his Homily, the Pope also mentioned Sr. Rosalie Rendu, for her role in guiding "the young Frédéric Ozanam and his companions to the poor of the Mouffetard neighborhood of Paris."

Click here for Dante and Catholic Philosophy in the Thirteenth Century, by Fredéric Ozanam, 1845.

Click here for The Franciscan Poets in Italy of the Thirteenth Century, by Frederic Ozanam. (He loved American poets, too, especially Longfellow.)

A very happy feast day to all Vincentians and to all their clients and donors!

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