St. John’s University celebrates Founder’s Week annually during the
week of the Feast of St. Vincent de Paul, held on September 27.
Founder’s Week is an opportunity to learn more about St. Vincent de
Paul (1580–1660), the Congregation of the Mission and how the life
and teachings of St. Vincent influence our University.
As part of the Vincentian Family, we also mark the 200th
anniversary of the birth of Frédéric Ozanam (1813–1853) this year.
Blessed Ozanam brought the spirit and teachings of St. Vincent into
the 19th century and beyond. Frédéric, who held doctorates in law
and literature, was a law professor at Lyons and a professor in
foreign literature at the Sorbonne. Mentored by Rosalie Rendu, a
Daughter of Charity, Frédéric and a small group of students began
“Conferences of Charity” as active witnesses to their faith. As a
scholar, he is credited with some of the initial thinking and
writing that later became known as Catholic Social Thought. His
works of charity became known as the Society of St. Vincent de Paul
and continue today. Today we seek to inspire all at St. John’s to
infuse our community with Vincentian values so that “love will win
over everyone” and peace will flourish with justice.
This year marks the 19th annual observance of Founder’s Week, which
is dedicated to deepening our knowledge and understanding of St.
John’s Vincentian heritage. The week was chosen because it includes
the feast of St. Vincent de Paul on September 27. Prior to 2012,
this commemoration was held in January because on January 25, 1617,
Vincent preached a sermon on general confession at the Church of
Folleville, France. The Vincentian priests who sponsor St. John’s
University consider this the date when Vincent conceived of
creating a congregation of priests who would serve the spiritual
and material needs of the poor—the first sermon of the mission. In
1625, the men who would later become part of the company known as
the Congregation of the Mission, or Vincentians, began their