How the Economy of Communion project moves beyond simple philanthropic approaches

By John Mundell

published in Living City on 01/03/2017

170204 Udienza Papa 28 ridImitating the Good Samaritan of the Gospel is not enough.” This was the heart of the message given by Pope Francis during our audience February 5 at the Vatican. It resonated among 1,200 entrepreneurs and supporters of the Economy of Communion project, gathered from around the world.

The EoC was started in 1991 by Focolare founder Chiara Lubich during a visit to São Paulo, Brazil, as a project to eradicate poverty. She proposed starting companies willing to put their profits in common for the common good, putting the EoC at the forefront of a social enterprise revolution that would soon follow in different forms.

During the next 25 years, the EoC business network and supporters grew into a social movement that today includes more than 860 businesses in over 50 countries, with tens of thousands involved.

In recent years EoC companies have begun to focus on increased contact with those needing support. This has led many to the practice of “productive inclusion,” bringing those in need directly into the businesses’ operations themselves. Efforts have also increased for EoC companies to be more directly involved in their local communities, as a means to engage with others and find ways to support those faced with difficulties in life. And entrepreneurs have understood from experience the importance of personal involvement for those working in EoC businesses to bring about real communion at the local level.

Pope Francis reminded us of the intimacy called for by our efforts: “To have life in abundance, one must learn to give: not only the profits of businesses, but of oneself. The first gift of the entrepreneur is of his or her own person: your money, although important, is too little.”

In 1992, during the EoC’s early days, Chiara Lubich reminded us of the importance of giving of ourselves. “You know that the idea of the Economy of Communion has awakened latent energies in many of us … and has triggered the mechanism of giving,” she said. “In order for everything to grow and mature, we must strengthen this virtue of ‘giving,’ so that it becomes a habit in us. Let’s give always, giving a smile, understanding, forgiveness or a listening ear; let’s give our intelligence, our will and availability; let’s give our time, talents and ideas.

For me, our meeting with the Holy Father was a call to return to our original spiritual roots — a lifestyle based on communion practiced in each movement of our daily business lives.

With an understanding of the wider potential of the EoC, the Pope challenged us to work toward an even greater collective goal — changing the economic system of today into one of greater social justice and caring. “An entrepreneur who is only a Good Samaritan does half of his duty; he takes care of today’s victims, but does not curtail those of tomorrow.”

This new awareness was highlighted with many experiences shared at the EoC congress. Raiana Lira, a young environmental professional who initially interned at my company in Indiana in 2015 to learn more about the EoC, was inspired by its mission and values. She returned to Brazil and is now working for Anpecom (the National Association for an Economy of Communion).

We want to assemble people, companies and institutions that want to build a new economic culture and reduce poverty through their knowledge and abilities,” she said. “We believe that entrepreneurship is an essential tool for overcoming poverty, provided it is conceived within a new cultural perspective.”

Anpecom promotes a new socioeconomic model that has been recognized by various institutions in Brazil. It has successfully helped develop six new businesses operated by those in need which have come out of their entrepreneurship and incubation program.

After 25 years of working toward an economic “may they all be one” (Jn 17:21), these experiences encourage us to take up the pope’s challenge and to fulfill this dream.

Submit to DeliciousSubmit to DiggSubmit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to TwitterSubmit to LinkedIn

Logo booster camp rid mod

 Call for projects by Feb 28, 2018 - more info - Download brochure

Prophetic Economy Awards

Follow us:

facebook twitter vimeo icon youtubeicon flickr

#EocwiththePope

EoC Report 2016

Cover Edc44 EN mod

download the report 
go to the Report online

EoC PanAsian Congress 2016

The Dawn of Midnight

Logo Geremia Crop 150The series of comments by Luigino Bruni on Jeremiah's book comes out every Sunday on Avvenire

Go to the complete series

new tab icon 32291 Simply Life

Join the EoC

EoC Companies crop banner rid modBy registering your company on the following site: edc-info.org

Find out more...

Nairobi 2015: a site to share all related contents

Logo sito Nairobi rid modInterviews and experiences  (videos and written contents), photo galleries, PowerPoint presentations: all materials that help you re-live the events of Nairobi 2015

Go to site    Go to EoC Congress contents  Go to EoC School contents 

RSS - subscribe

This website uses “technical cookies”, including third parties cookies, which are necessary to optimise your browsing experience. By closing this banner, or by continuing to navigate this site, you are agreeing to our cookies policy. The further information document describes how to deactivate the cookies.