Frédéric Ozanam was a French literary scholar, lawyer, journalist and equal rights advocate. He founded with fellow students the Conference of Charity, later known as the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul.
He was beatified by Pope John Paul II in the Cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris in 1997, hence he may be properly called Blessed Frederic. His feast day is September 9
Frédéric Ozanam left his home in Lyon, France, in the autumn of 1831, for Paris. He registered in the School of Law at the Sorbonne, University of Paris.Autumn, 1831
The Conference of History
Frédéric collaborated with Mr. Emmanuel Bailly, editor of the Tribune Catholique, in reviving a student organization which had been suspended during the revolutionary activity of July 1830. They called their new association “The Conference of History.”1831 - 1833
The "Conference Of History" group met on Saturdays to discuss various topics, everything but politics. At one of their meetings, a student challenged Frédéric and the practicing Catholics. He admitted that the Catholic Church had done much good work in the past, but “what do you do now?”1833
The Society Of Saint Vincent de Paul
Frédéric called for a meeting of five of his friends; they agreed to meet at Mr. Bailly’s office. The date was April 23, 1833, Frédéric’s twentieth birthday. Inspired by their words, Frédéric decided to found the “Conference of Charity” to assist the poor. Emmanuel Bailly, the married layman, was chosen by the six students as their first President. In a short time, they changed their name to The Society of St. Vincent de PaulApril 23, 1833
The Society of St. Vincent de Paul in the United States
Father Timon & Father Heim
While historians are not certain about some details, there is no doubt that the Society of St. Vincent de Paul was established in St. Louis, Missouri at the Basilica of St. Louis, King of France, popularly called “The Old Cathedral,” in 1845. Father John Timon, CM, an American Vincentian priest from Pennsylvania, and later Bishop of Buffalo, New York, was the one who brought copies of the Rule of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul back from Dublin, Ireland, to St. Louis. Timon talked to various people about the Society and its wonderful work with the poor. Bishop Peter Richard Kenrick, successor of the first Bishop of St. Louis, Joseph Rosati, CM, asked Father Ambrose Heim to establish the Society of St. Vincent de Paul and be its Spiritual Advisor.
The First Meeting Of The Society
Father Heim was known by all for his extraordinary zeal and ministry with the poor. He became known as “The Priest of the Poor.” The first meeting of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul in the United States was held on November 20, 1845, only twelve years after its foundation in Paris. Nineteen of the most prominent Catholic layment of St. Louis attended. Dr. Moses Linton was elected President, Bryan Mullanphy, Vice President, Dennis Galvin, Second Vice President, James Maguire Jr., Secretary, Patrick Ryder, Treasurer, and Fr. Ambrose Heim, Spiritual Advisor. The Conference was aggregated (formally recognized) by the Society’s International Council in Paris on February 2, 1846.