Motivated by his dream for the Seminary to achieve a certain degree of self-reliance, Bishop Perez spearheaded a livelihood project destined to become part of his legacy, one that eloquently speaks of and reflects his heart and mind. With the desire for maximum productivity, a decision was made to convert a portion of the lot into a bakeshop.
Realizing that everything the community enjoys is graces, the name “Blessings” was adopted, reflective of what the project is, God’s blessing, thus, capturing the community members’ day-to-day experience of being recipients of God’s providential care and guidance. Because of the commitment and hard work invested by the bakers, Blessings was able to respond and satisfy the people’s need for quality bread.
The vision was simple: “If you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. If you teach a man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime.” The vision is not to make the community dependent on the help and support of the Seminary. They were taught not to rely on dole-out and one-time-big-time programs. The goal is to help them stand on their own two feet. The Church’s role is to assist them and give them opportunities. But after some time, they must be able to stand on their own.
There is an important emphasis on the strategy of the Seminary. While emphasizing hard work and diligence, the community was constantly reminded that the Lord always blesses all efforts. No one can claim that they are the ultimate source. God is the source. And so, the name of the Bakeshop is a constant reminder that it is not our sweat and blood that will improve lives. It is always God’s blessings that pour out abundantly.
“From the start, the project was envisioned not only to provide financial assistance to the seminary community but also to help jobless members augment their family income. As a system and in its orientation, the Blessings Seminary Bakeshop is structured to be a potent venue for values formation for workers and seminarians. It is desired that each person involved learn to work as a community of brothers and sisters in the spirit of justice, equality, active participation and charity.”
My first week as the general manager involved getting to know the bakeshop community. Most of them were familiar faces. I have known them since I was a seminarian more than a decade ago. I was surprised that when I reviewed their files, some had been there from the beginning. And after all these years, they learned to love Blessings Bakeshop and treated it not just as their place of employment but as their own. They told me stories like: “Ang bakeshop ang nagpatapos ng mga anak ko. Ang bakeshop ang nagpa ospital sa tatay ko. Dahil sa bakeshop nakabili kami ng lupa.”
What struck me the most was not the economic improvements in their lives but the recognition that God loved and blessed them. At present, BSB provides housing for our loyal employees who still do not have a home of their own. Proving employee housing may not be a popular business strategy, especially for a small venture like ours, but this is our way of taking care of our employees.
The story is clear to me. You take care of the people, and they will take care of the business. Allow them to understand the purpose of business, and they will surely participate in its apostolate. Share with them God’s love and blessings, and they will love and bless the company. And this is how I can prove that love is a crucial business strategy!
Happy Valentine’s Day to all!
The author is an MBA student at the Ramon V. del Rosario College of Business, DLSU. He can be reached at [email protected].
The views expressed above are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official position of DLSU, its faculty, and its administrators.