A Student Who Made a Difference
The year was 1831. At 18 years old, Frédéric Ozanam arrived in Paris to study law at the University of the Sorbonne. He loved learning, and he loved his faith. But life was hard in early 19th-century Paris. A lot of people were hungry and out of work. As young Frédéric found, many also had lost their own faith. When professors mocked Catholic teachings, Frédéric vigorously defended the Church. He started a club to debate social problems and solutions. One day, as he talked about the Church’s role in society, a member blurted, “What do you do besides talk to prove the faith you claim?” Young Frédéric rose to the challenge. He organized friends to serve in Paris tenements. He also met with Rosalie Rendu, a Daughter of Charity known for helping the poor. With her guidance, Frédéric formed the organization that became the Society of St. Vincent de Paul.
Frédéric went on to become a journalist, professor and public speaker dedicated to faith and service. He continued to aid the needy and speak out for his faith throughout his life. Today, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul serves millions of needy people worldwide, and Blessed Frédéric Ozanam remains an inspiring example for young men and women seeking to change the world.