Today in places where there is deep commitment to the St. Vincent de Paul Society, the optional memorial of Blessed Frederick Ozanam (1813-53), its founder, is possible.
Frederick died on 8th September, but as that is also the Birthday of the Blessed Virgin Mary, his feast has been brought forward to the second.
An accomplished linguist and Dante scholar, he also found time to care for the poor. The society he started has over a million members in 32 countries.
Frederick was one of four out fourteen children in his family to survive infancy.
His father was an officer in Napoleon's army. Frederick was born in Milan, but the family moved back to Lyon.
He studied at the College Royal and was interested in both law and literature. He became involved with a group of liberal Catholic intellectuals - Emmanuel Bailly, historians Montalambert and Chateaubriand, the Romantic poet Lamartine and the Dominican preacher Lacordaire.
This group along with a Daughter of Charity named Rosalie Rendu began the lay institute dedicated to caring for the physical and spiritual well-being of the poor.
Frederick took his doctorate in law in 1836 and although his father died around this time, he went on to gain a doctorate in literature with a thesis on Dante's philosophy.
In 1845 Frederick moved from Lyon to Paris and married Amalie who soon gave birth to a daughter. He combined an academic career with lecturing to the Cercle catholique and visiting the poor.
An accomplished linguist, he was promoted to professor in 1846 and began a project on the literary history of the Middle Ages from the fifth century to Dante. But he contracted tuberculosis and his health began to fail.
With Lacordaire he started a journal expounding Christian socialist principles. He went to Italy in 1853 partly for health reasons but also to collect a prestigious award for his work on Dante. On the return journey he collapsed and died at Marseilles on 8th September 1853.
Pope John Paul beatified him in August 1997, expressing the hope that more married people would be canonized.
The Society of St Vincent de Paul has over a million members in 32 countires (thanks to Patrick Duffy--www.catholicireland.net).
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The Capital's Congolese Community Celebrates Confirmation
On Sunday afternoon, I presided at a late-summer celebration of Confirmation for six members of the Congolese community that gathers each Sunday afternoon at 3:30PM at Eglise Saint-Charles Borromee on Beechwood.
The music is rhythmical and passionate, and the dress is "Sunday best" and colourful.
Plus, after photos for all and sundry, not just the confirmands, there followed a reception in the parish hall with a tasty spread of food from Congo's best cooks.
Herewith some photos of this special occasion.