Sao Paulo, 13 August 2011
We spent today reflecting more deeply on the redesigning of our economy in view of the apostolate–a “coupling” that is essential but often hard to achieve.
In fact, Sr. Annamaria Gasser opened her talk with the admonition to stay on guard because “perhaps we are accustomed to thinking of our economic sector as an ‘accessory’ and sometimes marginal factor (to the apostolate), or else we relegate it to its purely technical-accounting aspect, almost as if it were secondary to the management of our activities.” In reality, the economic dimension of our life influences and often conditions our apostolic choices. After a thumbnail sketch of the principal economic theories that have guided the world’s economy over the last two centuries, Sr. Annamaria offered us a synthesis concerning what the Church has said in the realm of socio-economics and invited us to reflect on how these insights can be practically applied to our activities. We should allow ourselves to be questioned by the economy’s ethical aspect, she said, which is made up of transparency, justice, charity, sharing and fraternity. She then observed that we must change some of our ways of acting with regard to our economy if we want to not only maintain but also expand and develop our activities. She concluded with the suggestion that we keep in mind that “the only successful economic models are those sustained by strong ethical values. It is this vision of the economy that should characterize our Pauline life and our efforts to become holy.”
Sr. M. Gabriella Santon, Bursar General, underscored the fact that we cannot ignore the close connection between economy and apostolate. Continuing the reflections on this subject already carried out in other contexts, she highlighted the need to re-establish a healthy and “Pauline” balance between these two spheres of the Pauline life because “economy is at the service of apostolate and the apostolate gives continuity and stability to our economy.” Thus what is needed is wise administration, which consists of collaboration and coordination among our apostolic sectors; the search for the proper balanced between income and expenses, and good organization. As Fr. Alberione said: “Let us administer our goods according to the principles of Jesus and Paul. We must take into account everything God has already provided…. Every invention is a chapter of praise to God. It is a discovery of what he has placed in nature and the many gifts he has also bestowed on us–gifts that we still do not use to the full! We don’t use our imagination, our heart, our mind or our interpersonal relations as much as we should. We especially do not use the many means divine Providence has given us for our apostolate. The Lord has placed many treasures around us and many more within us–treasures we haven’t even discovered yet!” (FSP55, p. 554)
Our afternoon was dedicated to a workshop entitled Economy and Profitability, the purpose of which was to help us acquire a vigorous and productive approach to the diffusion apostolate, together with a work method in the areas of estimates and investments, evaluations and monitoring. The “case study” methodology we followed led us to a convergence of ideas and the formulation of concrete proposals to be included in our Apostolic Project.
As evening fell, we officially opened our Mini-Fair of American Pauline Products. The display is beautiful!
Sr. Anna Caiazza