Resonance of Frederic Ozanam’s thoughts
The role of the young Frédéric’s father and mother in his education
”A good education is the source and root of a virtuous life”, said Plutarch. This comment applied most perfectly to the life of Blessed Frédéric Ozanam. Source of the exceptional personality of this man, Ozanam, a brilliant intellectual, an ardent Defender of the Faith, wounded by the suffering of the poor, overwhelmed by the love of the Creator, were his parents. Although almost unknown, they it was, nonetheless who shaped the character of Blessed Frédéric. We publish here extracts from the correspondence of Alphonse Ozanam, Frédéric’s brother, describing the role of their father and mother in the family’s education. It gives us an opportunity to pay tribute to all parents who sometimes amid great difficulties, pass on the best they have themselves received.
Alphonse Ozanam speaks thus of his father: “Despite his numerous commitments, [our excellent father] still found time not only to correct our school exercises himself, but also to take us for long walks in the countryside every week, often 4 or 5 leagues (between 18 and 22km) to strengthen our health and harden us to fatigue. He knew how to make these long walks interesting, and delighting us in our tiredness by instructive conversation… In the summer, he took us to the river bank and taught us to swim”. It was Doctor Ozanam again who, “every evening…led the family in prayers with his wife and children and our maid, Marie”.
Also, here is what Alphonse says about his mother: “She taught [the children] to read and write. Her happiness was above all to give them their first lessons in piety and religion… To settle us to sleep, she spoke a few words to us about God, about the Blessed Virgin…and the saints. As the children grew…she supervised their little tasks, teaching them to study with order and method. The times for work, recreation, meals and sleep were regulated, just like a community. She it was who took her children to church every Sunday (and)…. taught them with admirable patience to follow the mass.”