We all know the words “I have a dream”! Less familiar are the words from the Acts of the Apostles “your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams. (Acts 2:17)” Have we ever connected these dreams with the dreams of Frederic Ozanam, St. Vincent… and our own?

This is the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King. He had a dream and expressed it in various ways. Almost 200 years earlier Frederic Ozanam also had a dream! He and his friend Léonce Curnier exchanged letters about Frederic’s dream “to encircle the world in a network of charity.” Today, that dream is quite literally a reality! The Society of St. Vincent de Paul is established in 150 countries around the world.

His dream had its roots in St. Vincent de Paul and St. Louise de Marillac. It has expanded well beyond the Society to include the well over 1 million followers of Vincent and Louise in more than 200 branches of the wider Vincentian Family. These numbers do not count the growing numbers of people who walk in the way of Vincent and Louise even though not affiliated with any group.

Each of the organized groups sums up their dreams with their mottos, “he has sent me to evangelize the poor,” “the charity of Christ urges me,” “no act of charity is foreign to the Society,” etc. Regardless of whether you belong to an organized branch of the Vincentian Family or not, how would you express your motto? (I personally like the words of Vincent “Let love light up my mortal frame until others catch the living flame.”)

A call to dream

As we celebrate the dreams of Martin Luther King, Frederic Ozanam, Vincent and innumerable other dreamers let us recall that without dreams the people perish (Proverbs 29:18} and pray for the spirit of Acts 2:17 where “your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams.”

  • Is your dream still alive?
  • How would you put it in words?

Prayer service – Dream Dreams With Vincent de Paul and Louise de Marillac, may our dreams soar!


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