Anecdotes of the Vincentian Family: Frederic Ozanam and beer

by | Aug 26, 2023 | Formation

Frederic always had pretty poor health. At age 7, he fell ill with typhus. For fifteen days, he was plunged into a deep sleep. The fifteenth day — as it is said in his biography by Mrg. Baunard — he awoke and asked for beer!

Ozanam heard from his parents that they attributed his healing to a miracle of Saint Francis Regis [Jesuit priest, not to be confused with St. Francis Régis Clet, the Vincentian] to whom they incessantly prayed and who was venerated in the Church of St. Polycarp in Lyon.


We do not know if Frederic, now grown, continued drinking beer (probably not, because he confessed to his cousin Auguste Materne — in a letter dated June 5, 1830 — that from that childhood episode, he “has not liked beer ever since”); we do know, from his letters, that at the end of the conferences at Bailly’s place, it was common to have a glass of wine.

Author: Juan Manuel Gómez,
SSVP president.

Excerpted from Frederic Ozanam letter to Auguste Materne, June 5, 1830:

At seven I fell seriously ill. Everyone came to think that I was healed miraculously of the disease. There was no lack of care. My good parents did not leave the head of my bed at any time, for a fortnight. I must have been delirious when I came to ask for beer (I have not liked it since). And the beer saved me and healed me.

Source: Correspondencia de Federico Ozanam, tomo I. Madrid: Editorial La Milagrosa & Somos Vicencianos, 2015.

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