Anecdotes of the Vincentian Family: Ozanam at University, and Money

by | Oct 21, 2023 | Formation

Ozanam at university and money fb

Frederic, while pursuing his studies of Law and Letters at the University of Paris, was almost always short of money. In several letters to his parents (not all, but many) he gives them account of his impoverished economy. He could have to buy a new pair of trousers to replace the worn ones, or maybe buy a new pair of glasses or anything else. In one of his first letters from Paris, he gives account of the 100 francs received, in detail, among his various expenses: a hat, 15 francs; tip to the driver of the diligence for his trunk, 3.50 francs; Lip Balm, 0.50 francs; bus, one day it rained, 0.30 francs; repair old hat, 2 francs… He had only 11 francs left, with which he has to pay the laundry, some firewood because it was cold, and he tells his parents that he has not attended anything “fun,” or even gone to a magnificent spectacle about the battle of Navarino, because it cost 50 cents.

Frederic begs his father if he would assign a small amount of money to “my little distractions.” “It’s very sad to be alone,” he says.

Author: Juan Manuel Gómez,
vice president, SSVP in Spain.

Excerpted from Frederic Ozanam letter to his father, November 12, 1831:

So I have no more that 11 francs, with which I have to buy this month some firewood because it’s cold in the evenings, pay the next laundry, buy glasses, and give 5 francs in advance to the school waiter for Mr. Brun (he will reimburse), etc… Note that I have not taken any fun, that there is here a magnificent spectacle of the battle of Navarino and I have not dared to go to it, because entry costs fifty cents. However, I know I’ve spent a lot, but what else I can do? I would be very grateful if I were granted every month, as in Lyon, with a small allowance for my little distractions. I have much need to distract myself; it is very sad to be alone.

Editor’s note: The Battle of Navarino was a naval battle in 1827, during the War of Greek Independence in Navarino (now Pylos). The Ottoman and Egyptian fleets fought against the British, French and Russian fleets combined, with the triumph of the latter alliance.

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

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    Anecdotes of the Vincentian Family