Frederic Ozanam Honored by Feinstein Institute for Public Service – From the press release… The Society of St. Vincent de Paul celebrated its founder, Blessed Frederic Ozanam, being inducted into the Hall of Heroes at the Providence College Feinstein Institute of Public Service on Saturday, October 25, 2014.
(Photo from left) U.S. Society of St. Vincent de Paul National President Sheila Gilbert, Rev. Brian J. Shanley, O.P., president of Providence College, Society of St. Vincent de Paul International President Dr. Michael Thio and Dr. Ray Sickinger, professor of History and Public and Community Service Studies at Providence College. (Photo by: U.S. Society of St. Vincent de Paul))
Each year, the Institute honors three people who exemplify its mission to “work collaboratively to increase an understanding of and promote positive and sustainable social and economic change through community building.”
One person is selected from each of three categories, national, international and local. The Society’s founder, Frederic Ozanam, was recognized as the international inductee this year.
“The Society of St. Vincent de Paul is deeply honored and privileged to have our principal founder, Blessed Antoine Frederic Ozanam, inducted into the Hall of Heroes of the Feinstein Institute at Providence College,” said Dr. Michael Thio, president general of the International Society of St. Vincent de Paul. “It is a great tribute in recognizing Blessed Frederic Ozanam for his dedication to social reform and Christian social justice. His legacy is carried on by the Society of St. Vincent de Paul he co-founded in continuing his vision of a global network of charity and justice which today is present in 149 countries throughout the world.”
Frederic Ozanam founded the Society of St. Vincent de Paul in 1833 as a young student with others at the Sorbonne University in Paris. The group was resolved to respond to Christ’s call by dedicating themselves to the poor after the example of St. Vincent de Paul. Sister Rosalie Rendu, a Daughter of Charity, was a mentor of both Frederic and the Society as she taught the first members the art of helping the poor and sick. Frederic passed away on September 8, 1953 in Paris.
Since Frederic and his companions founded the Society in 1833, it has continued to grow. In 1845, the first Conference (chapter) in the United States was formed in St. Louis. There are now Society of Vincent de Paul Conferences on five continents with about 800,000 active Vincentians worldwide.
Other inductees to the Hall of Heroes this year included the Honorable John Lewis, U.S. House of Representatives and Francis Smith, former executive director of the Smith Hill Development Corporation.
One of the largest and oldest charitable organizations in the world, the Society of St. Vincent dePaul (www.svdpusa.org) is an international, nonprofit, Catholic lay organization of about 800,000 men and women who voluntarily join together to grow spiritually by offering person-to-person service to the needy and suffering in 149 countries on five continents. The Society was founded in Paris, France in 1833 and it spread to the U.S. in 1845. With the U.S. headquarters in St. Louis, Mo., membership in the United States totals more than 150,000 in 4,400 communities.
SVdP offers a variety of programs and services, including: home visits, housing assistance, disaster relief, job training and placement, food pantries, dining halls, clothing, and assistance with transportation and utility costs. The Society works to provide care for the sick, the incarcerated and the elderly, as well as prescription medicine.
In 2013, SVdP provided over $794 million in tangible and in-kind services to those in need, made more than 1.7 million personal visits (homes, hospitals and prisons), and helped more than 11 million people regardless of race, religion or national origin.
For more information on the Feinstein Institute for Public Service, visit http://www.providence.edu/feinstein/Pages/default.aspx.
Photo Caption: Society of St. Vincent de Paul International President Dr. Michael Thio speaking