Feast Day of Blessed Frederic Ozanam.
Every year, on 9 September, members of the St Vincent de Paul Society from all around the world celebrate the Feast of Blessed Frederic Ozanam, our founder.
With support and guidance from Rosalie Rendu he and a group of other young men (he was 20 at the time) founded what later became known as the St Vincent de Paul Society. He was a scholar, journalist, lawyer and social justice advocate. He worked as a professional but was also dedicated to the work of the Society for the next 20 years, when he died at the age of 40.
“This year as we reflect on his extraordinary work and legacy, we are especially mindful of the call to walk even more closely with companions in the face of the COVID pandemic,’ said Claire Victory, National President of the St Vincent de Paul Society in Australia.
“Here in Australia, lockdown is demanding. It is isolating and it is very challenging for many.
“We have seen emerging mental health issues not evident before the pandemic and we have seen existing conditions aggravated by the challenging conditions.
“One in four young people in 2020 said they were experiencing mental health challenges;
‘Undoubtedly, COVID-19 has had a detrimental impact on many young people’s mental health.
“Youth mental health is an important national challenge that must be addressed.
“This week I attended the National Women’s Safety Summit, where attention was drawn to women and children fleeing domestic violence.
“Extended lockdowns have seen vulnerable women and their children in deeper crisis as there is no available safety valve such as the daily work routine and other opportunities to leave the house.
“Compounding these circumstances, some of our services and the way they are delivered have been necessarily limited this year.
“But the example of Frederic Ozanam inspires us to assist people with their material and personal needs in whatever way we can, to travel with them, and to demand justice on their behalf.
“He showed us that simple acts of kindness could lead to lasting change.
“His mission drives us today as we seek to ensure all people have the dignity of money for basics and a place to call home,” Ms Victory said.
MEDIA NOTES: The St Vincent de Paul Society was founded in Paris, France in 1833 by a 20-year old Italian student, Frederic Ozanam. Today, the Society operates in 153 countries and has over 800,000 members. Australia has over 60,000 members, dedicated to assisting people in need and combating social injustice. The Society started in Tasmania in 1899 when founders established a Conference in Launceston. From humble beginnings, the Society has grown to 25 Conferences within three Regional Councils across Tasmania. Each Conference undertake a variety of good works, the most recognised being the traditional Vincentian home visits and the annual CEO Sleep-out to draw attention to homelessness.
Media contact, Mark Wells: +61 414 015 966 (24-hours)
© St Vincent de Paul Society and MWPA.