St. Vincent de Paul Society – National Council of Canada presents …

The History of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul in Canada

A Prophetic Institution
“The question which divides people today is no longer about political structures but a social question. It is to find out which will win, the spirit of egoism or the spirit of sacrifice. Is society to be just a huge exploitation for the profit of the strongest, or a dedication of each person to the benefit of all, and especially the weak ? There are many people who have too much, and still want more. There are very many more who do not have sufficient, who have nothing and want to take if people won’t give. A struggle is starting between these two types of people. This struggle threatens to be a terrible one. On one side is the power of gold, on the other side the power of despair. We must jump in between these opposing armies, if not to prevent at least to soften, the encounter. And the fact that we are young middle-class people makes it easier for us to fulfill the role of mediator to which our title of Christian obliges us. That is why our Society of St. Vincent de Paul is useful.”

If you hadn’t got to the end of the quotation you might well have wondered from which contemporary writer it came.

It comes, in fact, from the generous heart and intuitive intelligence of a young man named Frederic Ozanam who already more than a century and a half ago, by 1836, had had this prophetic vision which permitted a foretaste of the great struggles and, altering the planetary scale, the tension between the third world and the industrial world.

For the rest of the history visit