Samuel, from Northeast Brazil, is a graduate in Law, currently pursuing a specialization in Economy and Management at Sophia. Last August he was an intern at Mundell & Associates Company at their headquarters in Indiana, U.S.A., a business-member of the international circuit adhering to the Economy of Communion project (EoC) .
“I heard about the EoC internship program during my first weeks at Sophia, when two students, who had been interns there the previous year, shared their experience. I immediately thought it would be great if I could do the same the following summer. After various moments of suspension, I finally received an e-mail from John and Julie Mundell confirming that I was among those who had been chosen. They also said they were willing to pay for my flight, but that if I could cover even a part of the cost, it would help support another intern. I was in the process of booking a ticket when someone said: “Buy it for the day that is best for you! Don’t worry about the price. You don’t have to pay”. But I decided to choose a cheaper flight, even though the date was less convenient for me.
Brazil is known for its natural beauty but also for vast social inequality. The State I come from, Piaui, is truly beautiful, but one of the poorest States of Brazil. I met poverty in the homes of friends and relatives and abundance in others. There I also met the Focolare Movement and the “culture of sharing”. I saw many people being helped by the EoC and this helped me to believe that a world of brotherhood is possible. This is what led me to Sophia. I feel I have been very fortunate to have been able to deepen my knowledge of the EoC both through studying at Sophia and interning.
On my arrival in Indianapolis, I immediately focused on the EoC lifestyle by reading two texts of Chiara Lubich that speak of fulfilling oneself through work. I began by putting an intention of love into every little thing I had to do, not wanting perfection for perfection’s sake, but in order to have something well-done to offer to my brothers and sisters. I loved the atmosphere at the company from the moment I arrived. Before I even started working, I felt the concern and attention of my bosses who welcomed me, and of others who had carefully prepared many practical details, of an employee who showed me around the premises and another who lent me his bike …
All I could do was to respond in kind. For example, we interns decided to dine together frequently, although I usually prefer to eat alone; we threw a birthday party for an employee from another State who had no relatives or friends in Indiana, etc.
Even though I come from Brazil where the EoC was born and although it is the object of my studies, many things were a real discovery for me, such as the relation between the EoC Companies and the local community. It was amazing to see a Company that chose to be located in a poor area of the city in order to help change the environment, maintaining good relationships with the other companies and institutions of the neighborhood (truly desiring their development).
After this experience, I can say that to live in and for an Economy of Communion business means to do something real that changes situations and lives, putting people, starting with those who are next to you, in the first place. And this motivates me to continue my studies at Sophia in this same spirit."