Frederic Ozanam was a staunch defender of the faith and the Catholic Church; but if some Protestants made him intermediary in the service of the poor, he was their grateful servant.
Once, a young Protestant pastor, having gathered an amount of money among his coreligionists, was inspired to entrust it to the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul. Ozanam accepted gratefully. He brought the money the conference and blissfully announced its origin.
One of the members of the meeting shared a few words of praise about tolerance in religion; then, as a positive man, proposed to dedicate this extraordinary aid first to the poor who were Catholics, and give what remained to Protestants. He did not add: if anything is left. As he spoke, the surprise was reflected in the face of Ozanam, who suddenly exclaimed:
Gentlemen, if this view, unfortunately, prevail; if it is not understood that we have to help the poor without distinction of religion, I will give back right now to the Protestants the money they put in my hands. I will say to them: “Take your money back; we were not worthy of your trust.”
It was not necessary to vote on the matter.
Author: Juan Manuel Gómez,
vice-president, SSVP in Spain.
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