Date of publication: 22/11/2019

The upcoming meeting of the International Board will be held in Milan (Italy)

Council General International

The fourth CGI’s ordinary SSVP Board annual meeting will be held on Saturday 30 November, attended by the 12 board members and the Spiritual Adviser (Father Andrés Motto, CM).

The Board meeting agenda includes the programme for the coming year, the proposed budget for 2020, details of the official opening of the new offices (at 65, rue de la Glacière, Paris) and the rules for the “International Year of Félix Clavé”. As for the SSVP Plus Project, which consists of expanding the SSVP to new parts of the world, there will be an analysis of some 15 countries with sufficient potential to allow our Society to be established up to 2022.

This meeting will be held outside Paris for the first time, at the House of the Oblate Fathers in Milan (Italy). Why was Milan chosen to organise this Board meeting? The answer is simple: in honour of Blessed Antoine-Frédéric Ozanam, who was born in Milan in 1813. On Sunday, 1st December, the Board members will visit some places of interest to the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul, such as the house where Ozanam was born and the church where he was baptised.

On 2nd and 3rd December, our fellow member Renato Lima de Oliveira, 16th President General of the SSVP, will make his official visit to the city of Bolzano, the headquarters of the Central Council of South Tyrol, one of the 150 territories in which the SSVP is present. Renato will travel by train from Milan, accompanied by a small Vincentian delegation.

A little bit of history…

Milan is very important in the history of the SSVP. Between 1800 and 1815, the province of Lombardy (where Milan is located), was annexed to France, ceasing to be Austrian territory. In 1809, Jean-Antoine-François and Maria Nantas Ozanam, with their children Elisabeth and Alphonse, moved from Lyon to Milan, for political, employment and economic reasons.

On 23 April 1813, Antoine-Frédéric was born in the family home, 16 via S. Pietro all’Orta, Milan. On 13 May, Ozanam was baptised in the parish of Santa Maria dei Servi. This beautiful mediaeval church, first erected in 1317, was sadly demolished in 1836, and rebuilt in 1847, to be converted into the Basilica di San Carlo al Corso (dedicated to Saint Charles Borromeo).

In June 1815, Lombardy was returned to Austrian control, after the political negotiations at the “Congress of Vienna”, which redrew the frontiers of European countries after the fall of Napoleon. As a result of this agreement, the Ozanam family decided to return to Lyon, in France, in October 1816. Antoine-Frédéric was only three and a half years old. Ozanam would return to the country of his birth 17 years later, in 1833, together with his parents and his brother Alphonse, to visit some of his relatives.

In Milan today, the SSVP has 89 conferences, with 709 members, who help 2,000 families in need. 

We ask your prayers for the success of the ordinary meeting of the Council General, the visits to the historic sites of Blessed Frédéric, and the President General’s missionary journey to Bolzano.