A Successful Workshop on "Business and Monastic Life"

The Institute for Controlling & Consulting organized the fourth annual workshop titled "Wirtschaft und monastisches Leben" together with the Benedictine Abbey in Lambach.

A workshop focusing on monastic life
A workshop focusing on monastic life

This year’s program between July 11-13, 2022, focused on monastic collaboration. Following opening remarks by Abbot Maximilian Neulinger OSB and Professor Birgit Feldbauer-Durstmüller, Bishop Manfred Scheuer gave the keynote speech, speaking about aligning spirituality with modern ideas of achievement and productivity. Bishop Scheuer recognized a connection between these two worlds in the Benedictine Order’s motto, "Ora et labora" (pray and work), whereby the ideal relationship between praying and working is nowadays referred to often as "work-life balance". While St. Benedict was not an ascetic, he did aim for "discretio", meaning the right amount of moderation.

Dr. Melanie Lubinger, a research associate at the Institute for Controlling & Consulting, opened the second day of the workshop. Using the example of the confectionery manufacturer, Manner, Dr. Lubinger spoke about various perspectives regarding partnerships. Manner, for example, maintains partnerships both in the social sector (with SOS Kinderdorf, for example), and in the sustainability sector by partnering with Wien Energie as well as the UTZ, and Fairtrade certification of their products. There are also cultural partnerships, such as a product lines to mark Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s birthday. There are many reasons for these types of partnerships, ranging from pooling resources and sharing expertise with the generation of new orders, as well as reducing costs, time, and risk factors.

Afterwards, Mag. Peter Bohynik, managing director of the Austrian Religious Community, spoke about partnerships from a religious order perspective. Partnerships between religious orders and their schools, hospitals, archives, and educational institutions under the umbrella of the Austrian religious community are indispensable, especially in today's challenging times. The experience acquired to date speaks in favor of this system's future viability.

During the afternoon, the financial director of the Diocese of Linz, Reinhold Prinz, spoke to the participants about organizing collaboration efforts between monasteries and dioceses from an economic point of view. In concrete terms, the new organizational field of "finance and administration" was discussed in more detail, based on individual departments. Building on this, workshop participants and business leaders from various monasteries engaged in a discussion about the positive and negative experiences of monastic collaboration as well as its benefits and limitations.

Prof. (FH) Michael Kuttner (Salzburg University of Applied Sciences and the Institute for Controlling & Consulting) was the fourth workshop speaker of the day, introducing the research study “Eine empirische Analyse der Kooperationen benediktinischer Frauen- und Männerklöster der DACH-Region”.

Following the Benedictus Prize awards ceremony (sponsored jointly by the Institute for Controlling & Consulting and the Benedictine Abbey Lambach) in which awards were presented to Mag. Sarah Pieslinger, BA, B.Rel.Ed.Univ., MA and Rebecca Schiffer, BSc, MSc, guests enjoyed a concert by "Klangvierterl", which also included a birthday serenade for Dean o. Univ. Prof. Mag. Dr. Helmut Pernsteiner. The weather in the evening was pleasant, conducive for casual discussions in the convent garden. As part of the topic "Wie können Klöster kooperieren?", Mag. Ferdinand Kaineder moderated a discussion with P. Jakob Auer (OSB at the Salzburg Archabbey of St. Peter), Dr. Rena Haftlmeier-Seiffert (managing director of the EQUA Foundation), and Priv. Doz. Dr. Isabelle Jonveaux (education officer of Caritas Styria's foreign aid department).

The last day of the monastery workshop featured a presentation by Michael Hüttl (OSB of the Benedictine Abbey of Altenburg) about the "Klösterreich" brand and its success story. Univ. Doz. Dr. Christine Maria Grafinger, the long-time head of the manuscript department at the Bibliotheca Vaticana, gave the final presentation, providing insight into the theoretical nature of archive work as well as a presentation of old, original manuscripts. The workshop came to a pleasant conclusion over lunch at the invitation of Abbot Maximilian.