The Dream of Frederic Ozanam and the Vincentian Family

Each year in the United States we celebrate Martin Luther King. His dream significantly shaped the civil rights movement in the United States. But he was not the only one who had a dream.

Almost 200 years earlier Fredric Ozanam also had a dream!

He and his friend Léonce Curnier exchanged letters about Fredric’s dream “to encircle the world in a network of charity” Today, that dream is quite literally a reality! The Society of St. Vincent de Paul which he was instrumental in founding is established in over 150 countries around the world.

His dream had it roots in St. Vincent de Paul and St. Louise de Marillac.  It has expanded well beyond the Society to include some 2 million followers of Vincent and Louise in more than 250 active branches of the wider Vincentian Family. These numbers do not count the growing numbers of people who walk in the way of Vincent and Louise even though not affiliated with any group.

An overview of the growth of the Vincentian Family

In 2017, 11,000 of his spiritual sons and daughters from around the world gathered in St. Peter’s Square to venerate his relics with Pope Francis.

At the beginning of 2020, the top leaders or CEO’s of 100 of the some 130 branches of the Vincentian Family active today, gathered in Rome to celebrate and let themselves be challenged as they lead more than 2 million people bringing “good news” to countless millions in 156 countries

Neither Vincent nor Frederic would have imagined these events or the way the Vincentian Family has developed.

Each January 25 all those connected with the Eastern Province of the Congregation of the Mission celebrate Vincent’s foundation of the Congregation of the Mission or Vincentian Fathers as they are known in this neighborhood and part of the world.

In his later life he often said he never dreamed of doing that … and so many other marvelous things that he did.

As we celebrate the dreams of  people such as Martin Luther King, Fredrick Ozanam,  Vincent, and innumerable other dreamers let us recall that without dreams the people perish (Proverbs 29:18} and pray for the spirit of Acts 2:17  where “your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams.”

For more these dreams visit the reflection “Vincentian Family in Time-lapse Photography”.

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