The social commitment of Klosterneuburg Abbey reaches back more than 900 years. Margrave Leopold III, founder of the abbey in 1114, was canonised not least for helping the weak and the needy. The mission of social commitment was part of his legacy to the abbey.
In 2000, Klosterneuburg Abbey drew up its own social statute according to which a minimum of 10% of the revenues is supposed to be earmarked for social tasks. Thus a centuries-old tradition of social commitment was laid down in writing – as the abbey has helped people in need since it was founded.
Excerpt from the Bull of Canonisation of Leopold (by Pope Innocent VIII):
This man of God, who had been raised in wealthy circumstances, always exposed to the opportunity to sin, weighed down as he was by marital problems and government affairs, never lost his faith and compassion. He was famous for his simplicity, moderation and generosity. His sincerity and humility earned him the respect of all Christians. He strengthened the weak, gave support to the wavering, lifted up the suppressed and succoured the needy.
Social engagement today
Klosterneuburg Abbey supports the work of the NGO Concordia Social Projects by financing construction projects and funding running costs e. g. for the maintenance of buildings and for supplying children with food, clothing and learning materials. The contribution made by the abbey, as well as donations by parishes, school classes, businesses and private individuals, make it possible to provide an education for children and young people that gives them hope for the future.
The abbey’s largest social project is the association “A Home for Street Children”, founded in support of the activities of Concordia, but in addition, projects in India, Peru, Honduras, Ethiopia, Southern Sudan and Afghanistan are also supported. Rather than merely financing organizations, the abbey helps them implement specific projects: in Asia, the abbey supports a centre for social activities and education, including a children’s home in Bangalore, India, and a kindergarten and social centre in Afghanistan. In Africa, the abbey co-financed three ophthalmic clinics for Light for the World in Gondar, Wolayata and Soddo in Ethiopia and one in Marpoudit in South Sudan. In Latin America, the abbey supported two projects of the Protestant “Kindernothilfe”, an NGO supporting children in need. In Ica, Peru, houses were built for ten families whose homes had been destroyed by an earthquake and who had had to spend months living under plastic sheeting. And in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, the financial support provided by the abbey helps to organize legal aid for street children to protect them from being at the mercy of those who find them. In late June 2008, it was publicly announced that Manuel Capellin, Director of “Casa Alianza”, a partner organisation of Kindernothilfe in Honduras, would (among others) receive the US Government Trafficking in Persons Hero Award for standing up against modern-day slavery.
In Austria, too, the abbey repeatedly implemented relief measures, especially for the victims of the floods in 2002, 2005, 2006, 2009 and 2013.