Ambassadors embrace the ‘Great Commission’
As active Legates, the men and women of Legatus strive as ambassadors for Christ in the marketplace, their communities, and families. Some display an embrace of their Catholic faith that is so extraordinary; one cannot help but take notice. Legatus magazine recently spoke with a few Legates who are truly following Christ’s call to let their light shine before men.
Eye-level empathy from experience
Joe Jordan, 67, a member of Legatus’ Manhattan Chapter, was only six months old in 1952 when his father was killed in a car accident.
Just before he died, Jordan’s father had cancelled a $100,000 life insurance policy. That decision left Jordan’s mother to struggle as a young, single widow who had to raise four young children in the Bronx with little financial cushion.
“Do you know how far $100,000 would have gone in 1952? That had the spending power of what is two million dollars today,” Jordan said. “My life would have been radically different.”
But early in his professional career in the financial services industry, Jordan never told clients about his personal story. He believed it was unprofessional and that people would see it as a ploy for sympathy.
Along the way, though, Jordan realized that stories can often do a better job communicating important truths about financial planning than a PowerPoint presentation of charts and graphs can ever do.
“All wisdom comes from specific human experiences, and regarding what was happening in our little corner of the world, no one was telling human stories. It was all facts and figures,” said Jordan, who has shared that insight over the last decade to more than 400,000 finance professionals in 28 countries.
Jordan, who is the author of Living a Life of Significance, also shares an ethical vision of the financial services industry that is informed by his Catholic faith. In his presentations, he speaks of “four pillars” of living a significant life: sense of belonging, purpose, storytelling, and transcendence.
The audiences respond well to his presentations, which include videos of people telling their personal stories about long-term care and financial planning benefiting their families in difficult circumstances. One such story involved a Denver woman with two ailing parents living a great distance away in New York State.
“In terms of living a meaningful, significant life, the fact of the matter is that it’s others who give our life meaning and purpose, by providing community and connection,” Jordan said. “That’s something that’s out there, a human need that needs to be filled, and that’s good news, I think, for our business.”
Some financial services professionals consider him “the industry chaplain,” but Jordan said his message is really about helping them to be better professionals by helping them to see there is a deeper meaning to their job than meeting sales goals and getting bonuses.
“When you chase the money,” Jordan said, “You don’t make it.”
Purpose-driven Catholic in politics
Mary Elizabeth Coleman, a member of Legatus’ St. Louis Chapter, entered politics because she wanted the lawsuits against her municipality to stop.
“I thought we needed someone who would review our policies and hire a city administrator who would enforce them. I figured I knew how to do that so I ran,” said Coleman, 37, a tax and real estate planning attorney by trade.
After serving a single term on the City Council in Arnold, Missouri, Coleman focused on helping to raise six children, the two youngest of whom are adopted, with her husband of 15 years, Chris, who is a tax accountant.
But in February 2018, a special election put her conservative state house legislative district in Democratic hands for the first time in a decade. Friends and family encouraged her to run, so she decided to take out the nomination papers.
“I’ve certainly always been interested in politics,” Coleman said. “My dad helped run political campaigns when I was a kid, and helped write the city charter for our suburb, but this certainly wasn’t at the top of my mind.”
Last November, voters elected Coleman, a Republican, to represent Missouri’s 97th house district. As a freshman lawmaker, she has already been a voice for human dignity, sponsoring legislation to protect victims of human trafficking and to prohibit the shackling of pregnant female inmates in their third trimester.
“A lot of things I’m working on now are not things I knew a lot about when I ran but there is a strong connection between our faith and between supporting the dignity of people, even those who in many cases are in marginalized populations,” Coleman said.
Her Catholic faith informs her to see the dignity of the vulnerable and marginalized, including the unborn.
“Certainly, being pro-life was a big part of my platform,” said Coleman, who attributes her Catholic worldview to a life-changing experience she had about eight years ago at a weekend retreat that was led by the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Praying in front of the Blessed Sacrament that weekend, Coleman had a reversion to her faith that led her to realize that happiness comes from being in a close relationship with Christ and His Church.
“I think my public service is really a fruit of that retreat because it made me realize that joy comes from knowing God’s will in your life and doing it,” said Coleman, who has even developed a good working relationship with a Democratic state legislator who sometimes goes to the same daily Mass she attends.
“Our mission as Legates is to bring our faith into the marketplace,” Coleman said. “It’s no different in this regard either.
Phila. President takes Holy Orders
Matt Coyne, 51, president of Legatus’ Philadelphia Chapter, just graduated from the Archdiocese’s St. Charles Borromeo Seminary with a master’s degree in theology. He will be a newly ordained Catholic deacon.
When Coyne received his diploma, he was accompanied by his wife, Lisa Coyne, who graduated from the same program with her own master’s degree in theology.
“It was an amazing program that explained a lot of what is behind what we do as Catholics. Everything began to make sense,” said Lisa, 53, who is a stay-at-home mother and has raised the couple’s seven kids, who range in ages from 10 to 27.
For the last five years, Matt, who runs his own merger and acquisition consulting company, and Lisa completed the seminary’s graduate-level coursework for diaconate candidates. The aspiring deacons’ wives were encouraged to take the same first-year undergraduate philosophy and spirituality courses that their husbands are required to complete. Lisa never stopped taking classes.
“It was a beautiful journey,” Lisa said. “The professors were amazing.”
The faith was an early part of life for Matt and Lisa, both of whom grew up in Catholic families. They met in college. A few months after dating, they were engaged. Though both said the Catholic faith was not a high priority then in their lives, they attended Mass on Sundays as they both knew that marriage was an important sacrament.
In 2009, Matt and Lisa took all seven kids to Lourdes, where they prayed for one son who was set to have major surgery that had the potential to leave him deaf in one ear. A few months later, the surgeon told the couple that their son didn’t even need surgery because he had been completely healed.
“That was a pretty profound experience for our family,” said Matt, who around the same time began discerning whether he was called to the diaconate. One particular moment where he failed to stand up for his Catholic faith when questioned by a client motivated him to “go all in.”
Matt said he sees his new diaconate role as a bridge between the faithful and the Church’s ministry. Meanwhile, Lisa said people often ask her what she will “do” with her theology degree.
“I know something will come out of it,” Lisa said. “God has plans for me.” L
BRIAN FRAGA is a Legatus magazine staff writer.