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Catholic entrepreneurs from Wenzhou on one of their adventure training exercises

Catholic entrepreneurs seek work-life balance reporter, Wenzhou

August 03 2010

Catholic business owners from Wenzhou diocese in Zhejiang province, eastern China, have met to discuss how to integrate religious belief with modern business culture.

With memories of the recent spate of suicides at iPhone maker Foxconn still fresh in their minds, many affirmed that faith must play a vital part in their business.

"The militarized, dehumanized management in some big factories has made many young workers feel lonely and caused them to lose the meaning of life," said Father Paul, one of the priests who joined the 120 entrepreneurs for their July 22-25 annual gathering.

"The delegates agreed that workers 'cannot live on bread alone' and also need faith as a supplement. A spiritual dimension helps workers to live happier, healthier lives," he added.

The gathering featured adventure training, daily Masses, workshops, discussions and visits to "model" enterprises.

"We were amazed to visit two factories where the Catholic owners have actively spread the Gospel to the employees," said one female delegate.

"They have set up prayer facilities inside the factory compounds. In one of the factories, hundreds of workers chant the breviary together every morning and evening.

"With that spiritual support, the workers tend to suffer less from depression and they have better relationships with their colleagues," she said.

This is the sixth successive year that the diocese's "underground" Church community has held a summer gathering for Catholic business people.

Wenzhou is China's biggest trading base for small-scale goods.

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