St. Vincent de Paul was born in Pouy, France on April 24, 1581, and was ordained a priest on September 23, 1600. Vincent devoted himself entirely to the alleviation of suffering of the poor. To that cause, he established the Confraternities of Charity, later known as the Ladies of Charity, in 1617. In 1625, he founded the Congregation of the Mission, his community of priests and brothers. With Louise de Marillac, he cofounded the Daughters of Charity in 1633. Vincent died in Paris on September 27, 1660 and was canonized in 1737. Pope Leo XIII declared him patron saint of all works of charity.
Blessed Frédéric Ozanam was educated in law, literature, and philosophy, and he taught at universities in Lyon and Paris. Challenged by a detractor of the faith to demonstrate the social good the Church was doing in France, Frédéric and six companions founded the Society of St. Vincent de Paul on April 23, 1833. On June 23, 1841, Frédéric married Amélie Soulacroix, and their only child, Marie, was born in 1845. He succumbed to ill health and died on September 8, 1853. Pope John Paul II beatified Frédéric Ozanam in Paris on August 22, 1997.
St. Louise de Marillac was born August 12, 1591. She married Antoine LeGras on February 5, 1613, had a son named Michel, and was widowed on December 21, 1625. St. Vincent de Paul then became her spiritual director and, under his guidance, she became active in caring for the poor and in visiting the Confraternities of Charity. With Vincent, Louise cofounded the Daughters of Charity on November 29, 1633. She died March 15, 1660, and was canonized in 1934. In 1960, Pope John XXIII proclaimed her the patron saint of all Christian social workers.
Blessed Rosalie Rendu was born at Confort, France on September 9, 1786. She entered the Daughters of Charity on May 25, 1802, just after the Community was reestablished in France following the French Revolution. Her zeal for helping the poor drove her to educate poor children, care for infants, support the elderly, and supervise young working girls. One disciple in her mission of service was Frédéric Ozanam, founder of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. After 50 years of dedicated service to the poor in the Mouffetard district in Paris, she died on February 7, 1856. Pope John Paul II beatified Sister Rosalie in 2003.
St. Catherine Laboure was born May 2, 1806 in Fain-lès-Moutiers, France. When she was nine years old, her mother died, and she looked to the Blessed Virgin Mary to be her mother. She entered the Daughters of Charity on April 21, 1830. While still a novice, the Virgin Mary appeared to Catherine and asked her to have a medal struck in her honor. Because of the many miracles that resulted from devotion to it, it became known as the “Miraculous Medal.” Catherine Laboure was canonized in 1947, and is known as the patroness of seniors.
St. Elizabeth Ann (Bayley) Seton was born in New York on August 28, 1774 and was raised in the Episcopalian faith. She married William Seton, bore five children, and was widowed on December 27, 1803. After overcoming many obstacles, she converted to the Catholic faith on March 14, 1805. She dedicated her life to works of charity and education, founding the community of the Sisters of Charity in 1809. Elizabeth died in Emmitsburg, Maryland on January 4, 1821. Part of her community was united with the Daughters of Charity in Paris in 1850, and the others remained the Sisters of Charity in the United States. Elizabeth Seton was canonized as the first American saint in 1975.
Other Society Feast Days
April (Last Sunday)
Ozanam Sunday: Frédéric Ozanam was born on April 23, 1813 in Milan, Italy. On April 23, 1833 Frédéric and six companions founded the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. Also, St. Vincent de Paul was born on April 24, 1581. To commemorate these events, the Society in the United States celebrates the last Sunday of April as Ozanam Sunday.
June (Friday following second Sunday after Pentecost)
Feast of the Sacred Heart: The Society of St. Vincent de Paul has been solemnly consecrated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus since February 5, 1872. An Act of Consecration was drawn up at the request of the Society in 1872, and this act of consecration is renewed annually by all units of the Society.
November 27 Feast of the Miraculous Medal
The medal of the Immaculate Conception was manifested to Sister Catherine Laboure in the Motherhouse of the Daughters of Charity in Paris, France on November 27, 1830.
December 8 Feast of the Immaculate Conception
Blessed Frédéric Ozanam had a great devotion to Mary and declared Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception the patroness of the Society.
Parish-based Conferences offer Mass on five occasions annually for the following intentions:
- Four intentions of the Society:
- The Church
- The sovereign Pontiff
- The United States of America
- The Society of St. Vincent de Paul
- Deceased Conference members
- The deceased poor
- The sick and troubled who seek divine help and cure through the intercession of Blessed Frédéric Ozanam
- The canonization of Frédéric Ozanam