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September 8th, 2019 - 11:09 AM
Sep 8 - “Frédéric Ozanam” © icon by Br. Robert Lentz, OFM. Happy Memorial Day Frederic!
Antoine Frédéric Ozanam was a French historian and literary scholar who founded the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. As a teenager he went through a crisis of doubt, which he overcame with the help of a teacher, Abbe Noirot. This experience provided him with an intellectual foundation for his faith, which became characteristic of him for the rest of his life. While still a student, he began a series of refutations of new socialist doctrines and defended the position of the Catholic Church. With other students, he founded the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, in order to assist the poor in every religion and nationality. This society continues to exist throughout the world and has always kept its lay character. Besides his attempts to represent the Catholic Church in French politics, Ozanam was deeply involved with the poor throughout his short life.
In this icon Ozanam points to Christ in a sphere of glory on his breast. This is not Christ Pantocrator, but Christ as he described Himself in Matthew 25, one of the least of the brethren. The vision of the various religious families connected with St. Vincent de Paul is that Christ is best found where he is hardest to recognize -- in the poor and downtrodden of the world.