One of the unique aspects of the Vincentian charism is the important participation of lay people in carrying out the work of getting to know and serving those who are poor and marginalized by society, face to face, out in the world where they live. This was built in to our way of doing things from the beginning of our 400-year history with the establishment of the Ladies of Charity by St. Vincent, and it continues on today. It is also interesting that of our four prominent founders (St. Vincent, St. Louise, St. Elizabeth Seton, and Blessed Frédéric Ozanam), three were married and had children.
Today marks the day that Bl. Frédéric was married to Amélie Soulacroix, the daughter of the rector of the Lyons Academy, on June 23, 1841. It is said that they spent an extended honeymoon in Italy during which he continued his research.
Four years later they welcomed their daughter, Marie.
Frédéric’s words six years before his own marriage to Amélie:
“The great action you are contemplating at present will only serve to redouble your zeal and your strength. ‘When two or three are gathered together in my name,’ says the Savior, ‘there am I in the midst of them.’ It is in that divine name that you will prepare to unite yourself to a wise and pious wife: the promise will be accomplished in you both. In giving your love to someone who will be justifiably dear, you will not withdraw it from the poor and miserable whom you loved first. Love possesses something of the divine nature, which gives itself without diminishing, which shares itself without division, which multiplies itself, which is present in many places at once, and whose intensity is increased in the measure that it gains in extension.”
(Ramson, Praying with Frederic, p.63)
Learn more in this illustrated timeline of Frederic Ozanam’s life on VinFormation. (Click on the image)