A French Saint for the Poor

Bust of Antoine-Frederic Ozanam
Schaefer Frères / Public domain / Wikimedia Commons

When most people think of the Saint Vincent de Paul Society—a charitable organization that currently serves needy people all over the world—they think of Saint Vincent de Paul. Father Vincent is indeed celebrated by the Church on another day in September, but he wasn’t the original founder of the organization that bears his name.

Blessed Antoine-Frederic Ozanam was born in Italy in 1813. His parents had fourteen children, though only three survived childhood. Frederic, as everyone called him, became a teacher, and he married and had a daughter. He was also an author, and one of the things he wrote about was how Christianity benefits both individuals and the communities in which Christians live. Putting his faith into practice in France, he founded an organization called the Conference of Charity in 1833 to serve the needy around him. That organization is now called the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul and serves the needy in 153 countries, with an estimated 800,000 members.

Blessed Frederic died in the year 1853, but his service lives on in those who follow his ideals. He is remembered by the Church on the date of his death, September 8.

Blessed Frederic, help me find a way to serve those how are poor around me.