The Society of St Vincent de Paul was founded by Frederic Ozanam and others in 1833, in reply to a charge brought by some free-thinking contemporaries that the church no longer had the strength to inaugurate a practical enterprise.
ANTOINE FREDERIC OZANAM (1813-1853), French scholar, was born at Milan on the 23rd of April 1813.
His family, which was of Jewish extraction, had been settled in the Lyonnais for many centuries, and had reached distinction in the third generation before Frederic through Jacques Ozanam (1640-1717), an eminent mathematician.
Ozanam was the leading historical and literary critic in the neo-Catholic movement in France during the first half of the 19th century.
He confessed that his object was "to prove the contrary thesis to Gibbon's," and, although any historian who begins with the desire to prove a thesis is quite sure to go more or less wrong, Ozanam no doubt administered a healthful antidote to -the prevalent notion, particularly amongst English-speaking peoples, that the Catholic church had done far more to enslave than to elevate the human mind.
There are French lives of Ozanam by his brother, C. A.
Ozanam (Paris, 1882); Mme.