Date of publication: 23/04/2024

191 years serving in hope

Council General International

The Society of St. Vincent de Paul celebrates its 191st anniversary today, April 23, since its seven founders: Emmanuel Bailly, Auguste Le Tallendier, François Lallier, Paul Lamache, Félix Clavé, Jules Devaux and Frederic Ozanam as leader of the group, founded, putting friendship before action, the first Conference of Charity.

Frederick, a model of life at the service of good and truth, is the one who best interprets and gives continuity to the teachings of St. Vincent de Paul, enabling its rapid expansion throughout the world.

Frederick Ozanam is a tireless activist in favor of Christianity and in defense of social justice, proof of this is the recognition of St. John Paul II in the Mass of his beatification, when he considers him: “a precursor of the social doctrine of the Church, which Pope Leo XIII developed some years later in the encyclical Rerum novarum”. His writings are of great relevance today, but many of them are still unknown, so from the General Council we are making a great effort to disseminate them.

The problems and conflicts that Frederic Ozanam experienced in his time are, in many ways, identical to those we experience today, almost two centuries later. He does not limit himself to exposing social problems, but offers solutions and encourages everyone, especially his friends, to take a step forward in favor of the most oppressed, as he does in his writings and also in his life. For Federico, God’s blessing will come if we keep the faith, because by keeping our faith we will be able to communicate it to others through the channels of charity, knowing that our main mission is evangelization.

This is one of the founding messages that we remember on this 191st anniversary, to keep in mind that charity is not an end in itself, but the best means to spread the Love of God.

On this anniversary day, we share in the Eucharist a special remembrance of our founders and we raise in fraternal community a prayer to the Lord, so that he may make us worthy of the legacy we have received.

Juan Manuel B. Gomez

XVII President General