Workshop Origins

A note on our workshop and how it all started.

“Your universities, your businesses and your organizations are workshops of hope for creating new ways of understanding the economy and progress, for combating the culture of waste, for giving voice to those who have none and for proposing new styles of life. Only when our economic and social system no longer produces even a single victim, a single person cast aside, will we be able to celebrate the feast of universal fraternity.” – Pope Francis

This is an excerpt of a letter sent by Pope Francis in May 2019 to people around the world, inviting them to partake in the global Economy of Francesco movement. This was the spark that animated the creation of this workshop. We (Elizabeth and Felipe) received these words of Pope Francis as a direct and personal invitation to embrace the long, important work of applying our faith, our Catholic Social Tradition to the realm of economics and investing. We know this is about transformation – of ourselves, our organizations, society – and that it is hard work. Our training, our policies, our behaviors rooted in a conventional logic and paradigm that, while having delivered much good, may be past its limits. The invitation of Pope Francis has provoked us to interrogate “business as usual”, to pay attention to the ways it is casting many to the margins and falling short of caring for our common home.

The invitation of this workshop and of the on-going development of the Economy of Francesco in the US is to recognize the opportunity we have to lead in a particular way, grounded in our faith Tradition. Each of us has a particular charism and a particular set of institutional constraints and opportunities. Each of us brings our own unique lived experience, our faith, and formation in the communities we’ve been part of. Each of us is one part of the Body of Christ. We need each other, and that’s why the work of this workshop is to help us encounter one another so that we can better see what our own distinctive contributions might be to the whole.

We encourage you to bring the fullness of your mind (memory and critical thinking), heart (empathy and feeling the suffering of those most affected and marginalized in our economic system), and spirit (your own faith formation and journey) to this work. Though it’s uncommon in most conventional finance and professional settings, we feel it’s important to draw on the wisdom of spiritual practices to allow us to integrate our deepest essence and sense of self – who we are and what we are made for – with our work. How do we ground ourselves inside the sacred to begin the slow, deep work we are each individually called to and the work we’re called to do together?