The Papal Artifacts’ Collection is primarily dedicated to artifacts connected to the papacy. Individual popes, their biographies and multiple items belonging to them, including first and second class relics, make up the majority of this Collection. But that isn’t all it is.
Father Kunst has a deep devotion to the saints as can be readily seen in viewing the Saints & Blesseds section of this site. We invite you to visit Papal History/Saints & Blesseds to view the many canonized and beatified men and women who make up this section of the Collection.
Although the Church celebrates the the memorial of St. Peter Claver, Missioner to Slaves (1581 – 1654), on September 9, a lesser known Frederic Ozanam is remembered and celebrated in his native France.
The Church would do better to support herself upon the people, who are the true ally of the Church, poor as she is, devout as she, blessed as she by all the benedictions of the Savior. —Blessed Frederic Ozanam
The artifact is a letter, written in Paris, and dated December 15, 1849. It was hand written in French and signed by Antoine Frederic Ozanam.
The text is twenty lines and the letter itself measures 21 X 13.5 cm.
Included with the letter is a typewritten short biography and an Italian translation of the letter and a photo of Ozanam from 1833.
Blessed Antoine Frederic Ozanam, Founder of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul
1813 – 1853
Antoine Frederic Ozanam, a lawyer, and then a professor of literature at the Sorbonne in Paris, was one of the most important influences on the Catholic Church in mid-19th-century France. It was a period when the Church was still struggling to reassert itself in the face of the bitter anti-clericalism fostered by the French Revolution. Ozanam argued that, whatever its shortcomings, the Church had none-the-less been an overwhelming force for good in the shaping of medieval and modern Europe. Yet he also recognized that it had to adapt if it was to have meaning in an increasingly industrialized world. He was a staunch advocate of papal authority. In 1833, at age 20, he was a co-founder of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, an organization dedicated to tackling poverty and want.
Ozanam’s health was frail throughout his life. He died of consumption at age 40 on his return from Italy, which he had visited in the hope that its climate would help him counteract the illness.
More about Blessed Frederic Ozanam
From Give Us This Day
Robert Ellsberg, Author
France in the 19th century was rent by the continuing reverberations of the Revolution. The Church hierarchy allied itself with the conservative cause, incurring the distrust of the working class and the disdain of those intellectuals who embraced the republican spirit of liberty. One man who tried to bridge this gap was a Catholic layman and scholar, Frederic Ozanam.
As a student and later professor at the Sorbonne, Ozanam was moved by the appalling squalor of the urban poor. Convinced that Christianity is not about ideas but about deeds of love, he formed a fellowship of Christian laypeople who would immerse themselves in the world of the poor, performing acts of charity at a personal sacrifice. This became the St. Vincent de Paul Society.
In entering the world of the poor, Ozanam saw the world and the Gospel from their perspective. He challenged the Church to renounce its alliance with the rich and powerful along with nostalgia for a bygone prerevolutionary era. The poor, he believed, called Christians to conversion. They were “messengers of God to test our justice ad our charity and to save us by our works.” His stance earned the suspicion of fellow Catholics, leaving him isolated and discouraged. He died on September 8, 1853. Nevertheless, his society spread across the globe. He was beatified in 1997 by Pope John Paul II.