Vienna: The EoC looks at the young people

At the EoC School in Viena, the strength of experiences is combined with enthusiasm and creativity of the young people.

by Winfried Baetz-Braunias

111021-23_Vienna02_ridLive your questions and let the answers grow within you.” This quote from Rainer Maria Rilke opened the third Economy of Communion School of Northern Europe at the Mariapolis Center “Am Spiegeln” in Vienna last October 21st. The 110 participants represented Belgium, Luxemburg, France, Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, as well as several Eastern European countries (Slovenia, Serbia, Croatia, Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia), including many young people.

A possible alternative for the economy today is the Economy of Communion. This is the central point in this school, which is closer to the initial idea of Chiara Lubich in 1991: development between profit-oriented capitalism and communism that despises man, an alternative way around the economic core values of “gratuitousness,” “communion,” and “fraternity.”

St. Francis of Assisi, listening to the voice from within, devoted himself in restoring the Church of St. Damian in Assisi, and only later did he realize that his task was to reconstruct the “Church,” and so it is also for the EoC. After having lived the first 20 years within the Focolare Movement, the EoC now understands that it was born “for everyone.” An important growing aspect of this is the EoC’s presence in the media. To solve the problems of the global economic crisis, it is important and essential that employers, in their capacity as real protagonists of the economy, close the ranks, collaborate together, and exchange experiences globally.

“An uncommon community of entrepreneurs,” was how a participant, a graduate student of economics,111021-23_Vienna01_rid described his impression of the workshops. During the workshops, each one was able to give answers, starting from their own business experiences, to questions such as: how to run a business oriented to the common good, how to solve poverty that is growing locally and globally, how can a “culture of giving,” as a business oriented to the EoC principles, oppose the mentality of economic exploitation.

The young people were the protagonists on the second day of the school. “Without the young people there is no EoC,” said Luigino Bruni; both, in fact, are not satisfied with the economy's current state, generosity and vision. “The young people are not ‘the future’ as is often said but rather ‘a different way of living the present.” In the end Steve Jobs, Gandhi, St. Francis of Assisi, or Jesus Christ launched their revolutionary ideas at the age of 30. Today, whoever wants a better world cannot be separated from the economy, and who, as a young man, discovers his own personal ‘daimon’ in the economy, (a life vocation) must be carried out with a lot of energy, creativity, and enthusiasm. So, after graduating, instead of working for a corporation, one can engage in the EoC. As “path of excellence,” the ‘diamon’ can easily be in an atmosphere of benevolence and gratuitousness in community with mature EoC businesses.

111021-23_Vienna10_ridIt was then followed by various testimonies of young entrepreneurs. Today there are 38 small and medium EoC businesses in the southeastern countries of Europe that are in the local markets for their the innovative ideas, rational management of resources, and professional support from the EoC of Western Europe, in an increasingly difficult macroeconomic environment characterized by unemployment and poverty. In these areas of southeast Europe, where about 200 families receive a monthly fixed allowance from the EoC, new jobs are created and many new social business initiatives are born. The EoC projects’ professionalism and sustainability are guaranteed by the AMU (recognized by the NGO) as Francesco Tortorella said. These are not just conventional, but rather to help collaborate with those in need, in a partnership of mutual giving, where on one hand there is the financial means and talent on the other that make possible new and creative solutions.

In their concluding statement, the youth solemnly took what Luigino Bruni said according to the EoC, after 20 years of sharing with the needy the “profit of the pieces of cake;” now it is worldwide, and it is time to “bake new cakes.” “We invite all citizens of the world to give priority, with their choices of consumption and savings, to those businesses that are ethically oriented and dedicate a significant portion of their profits to the common good. This is because the Economy of Communion teaches us that the profit of the company has a social dimension.”

see the photogallery


“We arrived from Hungary very motivated with a number of concrete projects, and we go back even more motivated. The most beautiful thing was the many personal interviews.” (Máté Rangics, founder of IT company, Hungary)

Without having a business, I asked myself how I can help; then I got an idea: I can always use the ‘fraternity instrument’ everywhere.” (Jacub Jurásek, economics student, Czech Republic)

As the ‘oldest young entrepreneur,’ it became clear to me that being a man is not developed through the well-being and high techonology, 111021-23_Vienna08_ridbut by overcoming barriers among us: between man and woman, between the young and the old, between employer and employee, between planning and execution, and learning to put one’s self in another’s shoe.” (Silfest Waldemar, 86, former banker and management consultant of Tergon AG, a Swiss manufacturer of office chairs)

It is my first time participating in a meeting like this. With the many languages that exist here, I immediately understood, like the disciples at Pentecost, that the language of the EoC can be understood by all men.” (Vainny Bernard, entrepreneur, France)

Here, I decided to become an EoC entrepreneur in all purposes.” (Andras Prokopp, entrepreneur, Hungary)

I'm taking over my parents’ EoC business and I understand now that the task is greater. It is not enough to make profits and have a balanced budget, but the EoC means also to make social gains as we have a great purpose: above all communion!” (Etienne Besson, Switzerland)

Follow us:

Who’s online

We have 963 guests and no members online

© 2008 - 2019 Economia di Comunione (EdC) - Movimento dei Focolari
creative commons Questo/a opera è pubblicato sotto una Licenza Creative Commons . Progetto grafico: Marco Riccardi -

Please publish modules in offcanvas position.

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.