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Legatus Magazine

COVER STORY
Christine Valentine-Owsik | author
Apr 01, 2019
Filed under Featured
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Southern Hospitality Embraces Legatus In Greenville

The newest chapter in Legatus’ Southeast Region, Greenville (Diocese of Charleston, SC) chartered officially at twilight on Tuesday, February 19, with some 25 founding members. Commencing the cold, rainy evening with Confession and rosary in the warm glow of Greenville’s Our Lady of The Rosary Catholic Church – the chartering Mass was then celebrated by Father Jonathan Duncan, the Chapter’s chaplain; and concelebrated with Father Dwight Longenecker, pastor; and Deacon Sal Cancello. Induction of each of the new members was held at the end of Mass, with a personal welcome and photograph with each by Legatus founder, chairman, and CEO Tom Monaghan.

The road to Greenville’s chartering was detoured for a time as the area came out of the Recession. But it regained its momentum a few years ago, according to Southeast regional director, Ed Trifone.

In greeting new Chapter members upon their arrival at the church, he likened the rainy weather to ‘tears of joy’ that the group had at last been brought to chartering as Legatus’ newest group of Ambassadors for Christ, and at such a critical moment for the Church

Founding president Linda Cowart (now president emeritus of the Chapter) says the path to chartering was in many ways straightforward, but getting local Catholics acquainted with Legatus and its mission was slow at first.

 “Thanks to a wonderful board of dedicated gentlemen, Roger Quesnel (treasurer), Dr. Matt Gevaert, (vice president), and Don Reichert (current president), we began to spark the interest of fellow Catholic business leaders. At first, it was primarily to hear our great speakers, but slowly the word spread that we were presenting a wonderful opportunity for Catholic business people and their spouses to unite in a pleasant evening with other Catholic business leaders – attending Confession, praying the rosary, and celebrating Holy Mass, followed by a delightful dinner and inspiring speaker on an aspect of our faith.

Linda added that once Ed Trifone took the lead last year, with the invaluable help of development manager Stefanie Benotti, member interest quickly accelerated to 25 member-couples.

“Linda was the guiding light from the initial start of the chapter to its full development,” Ed says, “which culminated in a spectacular celebration. She created the beginning of a legacy that will truly lead more souls to heaven.”

It was Linda, Stefanie says, who initially drove to Atlanta from Greenville to attend Legatus chapter meetings there, and who brought the idea of a chapter back to Greenville.

Linda admits that after close friends had attended the Legatus Summit back in 2010, she’d began looking into Legatus. “And after my first Legatus meeting as a guest, I was SOLD and wanted to share it with others.”

“Through Linda’s diligence, this Chapter started,” Stefanie says. “And at the early meetings it was Linda who welcomed every guest personally, who never sat until the last guest arrived and felt comfortable, who checked the tables, flowers and room for perfection, and who gave personal and passionate talks opening and closing meetings – always warm and encouraging.”

The well-deserved celebratory event took place after Mass at Greenville Country Club, featuring a personalized book signing for members by Mr. Monaghan of his recent biography, Monaghan: A Life, during the cocktail hour. Delectable hors d’oeuvres included spiced pecan and goat cheese bites, and prosciutto-enrobed sea scallops. The main entrée was a petit filet with Maine lobster, and the dessert finale was a tantalizing salted chocolate truffle tart.

But the evening’s real treat was Mr. Monaghan engaging in a personable fireside chat, which Linda hosted after dinner. He delved into his life story, both business and personal, as well as his time running Domino’s Pizza. He spoke from the heart on why Catholic leaders should consider joining Legatus, and how he took his own faith-ambassadorship to heart in launching Ave Maria University and Ave Maria School of Law.

CHRISTINE VALENTINE-OWSIK is Legatus magazine’s editor.

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