My Three Angels
Holy Virgin, whom I invoked in my days of sadness,
let me praise you when happiness fills me:
for your hands have blessed my humble abode,
You put around me three chaste creatures,
and, to keep them sweet, strong and pure,
you wanted to give them your name.
The first one served her God sixty years on earth,
she learned of you what a mother can do.
She illuminated my heart and touched it with just a word.
She would still be sitting like a queen
in her children’s home, if God had not taken her
and would not have made her sit in a higher place.
The second one appeared to bewitch my life.
I did nothing but see her and my soul was enthralled,
with just one glance I surrendered forever.
You yourself form this tender and pious heart:
you create our union and make descend upon us
to the angel of Christian loves.
The third is the girl, the flower that has just sprouted.
On that innocent face that nothing is still disturbing
I see very closely the seal of the Creator …
Help her to grow up, O Virgin Mother!
May she look like her grandmother and her mother in everything
and may she help me to be better!
I have put my trust in the sweet name of Mary:
No one who prays was ever disappointed to that name.
I am a sinner: my steps have been diverted many times …
But you, whose name is still present in my family,
and you, o my holy mother, o my wife, o my daughter!
My angels, you will save me!
Frederic Ozanam, prayer written on August 14, 1845, three weeks after the birth of his daughter Marie.
- There is a little know aspect of Frederic’s life, namely, that he wrote poetic works (not many and not frequently), some of which are found in his letters and most especially in his earliest writings that were produced during the time of his primary education.
- Marie-Josephine, the daughter of Frederic and Marie-Amélie, was born on July 24, 1845, around 05:00am, three weeks ahead of her due date. Two days later, on July 26, Marie was baptized in the church of Saint-Sulpice in Paris, Frederic’s brother, Father Alphonse officiated at the ceremony and Francois Lallier, a close friend of Frederic and a co-founder of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, was the godfather while Frederic’s mother-in-law, Madame Soulacroix, was the godmother
- As seen in the letters that Frederic wrote during that era, this was a very intense and happy time for Frederic. He was ecstatic at the birth of his daughter, at being able into bring to the world such an innocent and tender creature, one who was in need of love and protection. Frederic not only viewed this event as a gift from God but also felt that he had been able to participate in the Father’s creative activity. At first, he was somewhat overwhelmed by the tremendous responsibility that was now placed upon him (something very common when parents bring their first child into the world).
- Three weeks after the birth of Marie, Frederic wrote this magnificent prayer which we are not reflecting upon. These words should be read and reread; they should be prayed and put into practice. In those words of the text cited above, we see a son, a husband, and a father who gives thanks for the blessing of having at his side three “Mary’s” (Marie, his mother; Marie Amélie, his wife; Marie Josephine, his daughter). These three persons filled his life with happiness and ultimately, helped him become a better person and a better Christian.
- God presents us with a gift that is revealed in every person whom we encounter as we walk though life. Our parents, our partner and our children have a special place in our hearts. The “domestic church” that we form with them is a sacred and holy place, a place of salvation, a sacrament of the Church and a reflection of the love of the Trinity. Let us take care of our families!
- We know that there are families who are in crisis and who suffer the pains of violence … not all families are what we might refer to as “model” or “ideal” families. Our mission, as Vincentians, is to bring healing to those families who at the present time do not live the fullness of the divine plan.
Questions for dialogue:
- If I still have the joy of having them: Do I take care of my parents, worry about them, accompany them, show them my love and devotion?
- If I am married: Do I treat my wife/husband with respect? Do I show him/her my love? Is our relationship based on equality, respect, love? Does God have a place in our relationship?
- If I have one or several sons or daughters: do I help them grow and mature, through love? Di I view them as a divine gift? Do I thank God for the gift their presence in my life?
- What are we Vincentians doing to help families who suffer as a result of being uprooted from their homeland, who experience poverty, violence, lack of love … situations that separate them from being a family in accord with God’s plan?