A Student Who Made a
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.