Married Saints Three

I'm still on my married saints kick.  First was St. Anna-Maria and Domenico Taigi, then, Venerable Pierre and Juliette Toussaint, now I'm looking at Bl. Frederic Antoine and Amelie Ozanam.

Frederic Ozanam is known as the founder of the St. Vincent de Paul Society.  Didn't you just assume that St. Vincent started that foundation?

He was born just after the reign of Napoleon.  In fact, his father served in Napoleon's army.  The year was 1813.  The Church had been in tough shape in France, still not recovered from being banned during the revolution. In fact, Frederic Ozanam toyed with the idea of joining Lacordaire in restoring Catholicism in France.  But he felt he was called to be married and have a family.

He was a lawyer, but it seemed he did that to please his father.  And when his father died, he continued because he needed to support his mother.  However, he was a gifted writer and wrote well enough to be awarded the Chair of Foreign Literature at  the Sorbonne.

All during his schooling and work, his hobby was religion.  When he was in college, he was appalled at the religious hostility he encountered at the university.  It seems from then on, his life's task was that of a Catholic apologist.    He was surrounded by materialism, rationalism, irreligion and anti-clericalism.  (What else is new?)

He found a few students who felt like himself.  They grouped together and formed a discussion group called a "Society of Good Studies" and formed it into a "Conference of History" which quickly became a forum for large and lively discussions.  Soon their attention turned to the social teachings of the Gospel.  At one of their meetings, someone expressed the thought that although at one time the Church was a source of good, it no longer was.  As a response, some of the group decided to go help the poor.

After this, the "Conference of History" became the "Conference of Charity" which eventually was named the "Conference of St. Vincent de Paul.  Now, instead of engaging in mere discussion and debate, they engaged in practical works of charity.  This small group grew exponentially to this day.

During this time, Frederic married Amelie Soulacroix.  They had one daughter, Marie.  It was a happy marriage and family life.  Together they lived the life of good Catholics and the beatitudes.  In 1851 Frederic contracted tuberculosis and died in 1853.

His entire life was an example of the lay apostolate in family, religion, social, and intellectual life.  It still is, which is why Pope John Paul II beatified Frederic Ozanam in 1997.

h/t Father Kevin Kraft, O.P.
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