Tag Archives: thomas monaghan

Read, read, read

As summer ends and students head back to school, Catholic education is our theme for this issue. I do not think the importance of Catholic education can be overstated, as it is so critical to shaping the minds and hearts of our children and young adults.

Yet, the process of studying and learning is never meant to end! As you know, a part of the induction into Legatus is the pledge to study, live, and spread the faith. Recently, I read To Light a Fire On The Earth by Bishop Robert Barron (with John Allen Jr.) and this quote struck me:

“… Barron’s unwavering belief in the importance of truth is why his standard response to anyone who asks his advice about how to get started as an evangelist is, read, read, read.”

I hope that all legates would put spiritual books on their reading list. At the head of the list I think should be the Bible and Bible commentaries such as the Navarre Commentaries and the series recently done by the faculty of Sacred Heart Seminary in Detroit called the Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture (www. CatholicScriptureCommentary. com).

Also near the top of the list of course would be the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC). In fact, we have a badge pin to recognize anyone who reads it from cover to cover. It can be done in little bits at a time and over a period of time.

I have also found that the lives of the saints are often very inspiring to read. However, some that were not originally written in English can be a bit awkward depending on the quality of the translation, so it can be helpful to read a review of the certain translation before purchasing.

There are many good Catholic books coming out every month. Ignatius Press, Tan Books,

Sophia Press, and others are all great sources. You will not find much in secular bookstores, but most are available on Amazon if you do not have a local Catholic bookstore near you.

Many prominent, former Protestants have told me they read themselves into the Catholic Church. We legates are already in the Church, but we can nourish our faith by taking advantage of this vast array of spiritual books available to us. If you have read a good book, let us know about it.

Read, read, read.

TOM MONAGHAN is Legatus’ founder, chairman and CEO.

Sharing the faith and growing Legatus

By virtue of our membership in the Church, we are all called to share our faith. Likewise, when we find something good, we are compelled to share it with others.

I cannot tell you how many Legates over the years have shared with me that Legatus has changed their lives! Or how many bishops have commented on the impact that having a chapter in their diocese has made. Who does not want Catholics in their community to be well formed and on fire about their faith? And if those Catholics are also business leaders who are blessed with gifts and resources to serve the Church and their communities, how can that not strengthen the Church?

As I mentioned in my last column, I am working closely with Stephen Henley and the Legatus staff (both at the headquarters and in the field) to have all the support and systems in place to both start new chapters and grow our existing ones. However, members know from personal experience that current members recruit the vast majority of our new members, and with such a small percentage of the population who qualify for Legatus, most advertising is not worthwhile. Since most people who qualify for Legatus have never been approached, most have not heard of Legatus, let alone know about our mission and the kind of support and spiritual growth that our members experience.

Cardinal Bevilacqua once called Legatus the most effective lay organization in the Church in the country… Just think about how much more effective it could be if there were more members.

I truly believe we have the potential to transform the Church by inviting fellow Catholic CEOs to join Legatus. As you reflect on the impact that Legatus has had on your life and the life of your spouse, I encourage you to prayerfully consider who you might invite to an upcoming chapter meeting… it could change their life — and the lives of countless others — forever.

TOM MONAGHAN is Legatus’ founder, chairman and CEO.

Poised for the future

This month, specifically on May 7, we celebrate the 31st anniversary of Legatus’ founding. I continue to be excited about the direction of Legatus and our calling to live out our mission in the Church and society.

Tom Monaghan

It is great to have the Legatus headquarters back in Ann Arbor and right across the hall from my office. The move took place 18 months ago and there have been many changes not only in the headquarters, but also in the field. The staff is very focused and I believe poised to help Legatus meet its fullest potential. Given what we have learned over the years, we have been tweaking some existing positions, as well as adding new ones.

We have added Chapter Development Officers (CDOs) to each of the five regions. CDOs focus strictly on chartering new chapters. We expect their efforts to pay off soon in the opening of more new chapters than ever before. As regions have grown, we also established the position of zone managers. Their role is to assist the regional directors in serving existing chapters by sharing best practices and other efforts. A consultant of the Table Group – a Patrick Lencioni Company has also been advising us (pro bono) regarding how best to make some of these internal organizational changes.

It is my determination that Legatus will soon be a well-oiled machine, giving chapters all the attention they need to thrive. The mission of Legatus is too important to leave its future to chance. Currently, some chapters are doing well, and others are struggling a bit. We want to do everything possible to assist each chapter to reach its full potential and be a source of life and an inspiration to its members.

The number-one objective of a chapter is to have great monthly meetings. This does not happen by itself, but takes relentless and consistent planning and effort. A key person in this effort is the chapter administrator (CA). This person follows up on the many details involved in putting on great meetings. We have been reinvesting in extensive CA training under longtime Legatus executive and training director Laura Sacha, who is overseeing this effort.

It is often said that Legatus is the most effective lay organization in the Church in the U.S. That is certainly its potential. The board of governors, Stephen Henley, and the staff are dedicated to that mission. Sometimes change is not easy, but I certainly hope that every Legate will understand as we make the needed adjustments and upgrades to this all-important organization.


TOM MONAGHAN is Legatus’ founder, chairman and CEO.

The importance of spiritual reading

Our mission as Legates is to study, live and spread the faith… I want to touch on the importance of studying our faith. As we all know, our purpose in life is to become saints, but how do we practically go about doing this? Of course, the Church teaches us to pray, frequent the sacraments, and to help others, but it also exhorts us to engage in spiritual reading as the normal way to nourish our faith.

Tom Monaghan

I have always been an avid reader, particularly of non-fiction; whether it be biographies, books on business, or any other topic I wanted to learn about. So, when I started getting more serious about my faith, the idea of spiritual reading made perfect sense to me. I was blessed to know Fr. John Hardon, S.J., who lived in the Detroit area and I remember in the ‘80s reading his classic book, The Catholic Lifetime Reading Plan. This was my first attempt at systematic spiritual reading.

In our daily lives, we are bombarded with stimulation, so it is very easy for our thoughts to be consumed by hosts of topics, some no doubt important, but none as important as growing in our faith. We all know the importance of eating healthy food in order to be physically fit; in the same way, we need food for our mind in order to nourish our spirit. If we want to be like Christ and His saints, we need to know what they said and did.

Fr. Hardon talked about how many hours a week we spend reading or taking in information through other means, and thus the importance of setting aside time daily for spiritual reading. He also broke down spiritual reading into five categories, which he listed in order of importance. They are: (1) the Scriptures (2) the teachings of the Church (including the Catechism of the Catholic Church) (3) writings on the History of the Church (4) biographical writings of a saint or saintly person (5) any kind of reflection on the preceding categories or more generally spiritual writings.

Let me leave you with a quote I recently came across by Fr. C. John McCloskey, whom many of you know. He wrote, “Good spiritual reading, seriously entered into, will lead to more and better prayer, greater self-denial, and an increased desire to evangelize family, friends and the culture.”

PS – If you want some practical direction on where to start, let me offer the following. Do an internet search by: A Catholic Lifetime Reading Plan by Fr. C. John McCloskey. There is a recent book, How to Read Your Way to Heaven by Vicki Burbach, which has received great reviews.

TOM MONAGHAN is Legatus’ founder, chairman and CEO.

Two friends dearly missed

As we complete the 30th anniversary of Legatus, 1987 – 2017, I take this opportunity to reflect on the lives of two great men and great Legates who recently passed from this life. Francis (Fran) Sehn, member of the Detroit Chapter, passed away at age 99 on October 29; and William (Bill) McIntyre, member of the Genesis Chapter, passed at age 81 on November 6. Coincidentally (or maybe not), their funerals were celebrated on the same day at the same hour… Saturday, November 11 at 11:00 a.m.

Tom Monaghan

Both of these men were close friends of mine, whom I admired and respected greatly. They were also both champions of Legatus. Fran and Bill were not only active in their respective chapters, but each of them did much to advance the mission and reputation of Legatus. Bill and his wife, Susan, were original charter members of the Genesis Chapter. In addition to serving as chapter president, Bill also served as Legatus’ vice chairman of the board of governors. Meanwhile, during our early years as an organization, as we endeavored to charter a chapter in Detroit, Cardinal Szoka wanted to know more about this new organization of Catholic CEOs before he gave it his blessing, so he sent a trusted confidante to check it out. The Cardinal sent Fran to find out more about Legatus and what we were all about; not only did Fran come back with a positive report, but he and his wife Celestine (“Sel”) would soon join the Detroit Chapter.

While Fran and Bill were very different, they had some striking similarities. They were both extremely successful in their respective professional fields, but they were also profoundly humble. They both were good listeners who were interested in others and what they could learn. Each was very involved in his local parish, archdiocese and community. And while they were pioneers in the business world, it was faith and family that comprised the true center of their lives.

Bill was buried with his Legatus lapel pin on and a Legatus runner draped over his casket, and as I read their respective obituaries, I found it humbling but telling that Legatus was mentioned in both. I believe these are not only a testament to their commitment to Legatus, but also a sign of the deep and meaningful relationships they had with their fellow members.

Personally, I am very grateful for the friendship of these two men; they will be missed. I am also grateful for their contributions to Legatus.

TOM MONAGHAN is Legatus’ founder, chairman and CEO.

On Philanthropy

The purpose of Legatus is to help its members be better Catholics. The Church and Scripture make it clear that regardless of the level of our wealth, we are all called to support the Church and our fellow man with our material resources, or in other words practice philanthropy. I hesitate to write about this topic, but do so because it is the theme of this month’s issue and because it is an important part of being a good Catholic, not because I spend part of my time raising money for the various institutions that I founded.

Tom Monaghan

We all know that there are many motivations for giving and myriads of organizations and causes seeking our support. When I founded Legatus, I was hoping that a manifestation of members being more engaged Catholics would be that they would not only be more charitable in terms of the level of their giving, but also more discerning in terms of the organizations / charities they support. Just as we explore where we invest our funds, I envisioned Legates would take the time to research the various needs and ministries out there and then give to particularly high-priority and effective causes that further the faith.

I am convinced that as more Legates give to highly worthwhile Catholic causes, that individually and collectively they will have an incredible impact on the Church and on their own souls. I believe that philanthropy is also something that is learned and needs to be modeled. As Legates practice philanthropy, I think they will inspire others in their local churches and communities to do the same and also hopefully model this practice for future generations.

As you know, the only cause Legatus can raise money for is Legatus – namely its endowment. There are two purposes for our Endowment Fund: (1) To provide a rainy day account in the event there is some sort of economic setback and (2) To fund international expansion after we cover most of North America with chapters. We mention it on our renewal forms, but we really have not pushed it much over the years. We raise about $10,000 per year.

TOM MONAGHAN is Legatus’ founder, chairman and CEO.

Why Catholic higher education

This time of year signals the beginning of another academic year for schools at every level. Ever since founding Ave Maria University and later Ave Maria School of Law (two separate schools), people have asked me why I started a new university and law school. Given this issue is focused on Catholic higher education, I thought I would share my answer with you.

Tom Monaghan

I have always had a passion for Catholic education, which I think can be traced back to the incredible impact it had on my life as a young boy. The instruction and formation that I received in the orphanage and Catholic grade school from the Felician sisters, particularly Sister Berarda, really served as a foundation for my faith development and as a moral compass for much of my life.

Years later when Domino’s Pizza started doing well, I was approached by many people with requests to support all kinds of projects designed to help the Church. I had to really think and pray about how I was going to use the resources God had given me to help His Church. I began getting involved in a variety of projects, including a couple Catholic universities… serving on their boards, etc. I also worked with the local Catholic high school in Ann Arbor, and then started a couple of grade schools (Spiritus Sanctus Academies), which I later turned over to the Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist.

However, it was when I was preparing to sell Domino’s that I had to think long and hard about what God was calling me to do with these resources He had blessed me with… because they were really His. I knew Legatus was critically important and I planned to spend the rest of my life helping it fulfill its mission. Next to Legatus, Catholic higher education emerged as the best way I knew that I could help the Church and society as a whole.

Building grade schools and high schools is critically important, but it is expensive. I knew that even with the proceeds from the sale of Domino’s, my resources were limited. So, I began to think globally… who are the ones who will be teaching and running the grade schools, high schools, colleges, law schools and seminaries? And where are they going to be formed? It was the idea of helping to mold the future teachers, principals, priests, religious, executives, etc. that really got me excited about the importance of Catholic higher education.

In addition, I thought not many people have the resources to start a new university or law school, so I felt a certain responsibility to do so. Therefore, I wanted to do everything in my power to found a university and law school, which would be faithful to the Magisterium and intellectual traditions of the Church and in turn to create a ripple effect that would be felt for generations to come.

TOM MONAGHAN is Legatus’ founder, chairman and CEO.

Honoring a friend and hero

On May 11, 2017, I lost a friend and hero mine when John (Jack) Donahue passed away at his home in Naples, FL. Many of you may remember him as the founder of Federated Investors or as the patriarch of the Donahue family, which includes 13 children, 84 grandchildren and 109 great grandchildren.

Tom Monaghan

There is much I could say about my profound respect and admiration for Jack because he was everything I aspired to be: (1) a strong Catholic, (2) a great family man – all his grandchildren still attend Sunday Mass, and (3) an incredibly successful businessman. To give you a glimpse of this great man, I would like to share with you something that he penned for his family back in 1996 on the occasion of his and his wife, Rhodora’s, 50th wedding anniversary… entitled Thoughts for a Lifetime.

In the realm of the spiritual, there are important thoughts on which to reflect. Always remember that your goal in life is to go to Heaven and to help others in every way possible to get there. You cannot repeat this thought often enough; it should be a part of your very being.

To achieve this goal:

1) Be determined to accept the will of God in everything that happens to you. Make every effort to discern the will of God for you, and make even a greater effort to follow wherever it leads.

2) Pray… Pray constantly. Nothing is more important than daily prayer for the preservation of the precious gift of faith you have received. Do not stop praying; for the day you stop praying is the day you will begin to lose your faith. This applies to everyone… even bishops, cardinals and the pope.

3) The Eucharist stands at the center of the Church’s life. The Church and Pope John Paul II have encouraged us to receive the Eucharist frequently; daily, if at all possible. There would be no Catholic Church without the Eucharist.

4) The Lord commanded us to “ love one another.” There are no qualifications in this command. It is not complicated nor subject to interpretation or rationalization. So, pray that you will always find it in your heart to “ love one another.”

In Summary… Seek Heaven as your primary goal in life. Seek to know and do the will of God. Pray so that you keep your faith. Receive the Eucharist as often as possible. Love one another.

TOM MONAGHAN is Legatus’ founder, chairman and CEO.

Legatus @ 30

This May marks 30 years since Legatus started bringing together some of the most powerful and influential Catholics in the country. Founder Tom Monaghan realized that forming an organization to deepen the faith of Catholic CEOs and presidents would put inspiration and knowledge where power already existed.

“Legatus takes leaders and helps them to be better Catholics,” Monaghan said in an interview for Legatus magazine. “They can do more than the average person and they should.” As a successful businessman and lifelong Catholic, Monaghan’s experience with “doing more” put him in the perfect position to influence other leaders.

“I’m doing this because it’s the best thing I can do to help people get to heaven,” he said. “All my past experience has contributed to this and somehow at the age of 80, I still have the energy and ability.”

Monaghan’s professional experience is vast, beginning with turning a restaurant that he paid $900 for in 1960 into Domino’s Pizza, which sold for over $1 billion in 1998, and including his ownership of the Detroit Tigers from 1983 to 1992. But after forming Legatus, Monaghan moved away from materialism into dedicating his life to the Church.

Affecting the Culture

Legatus has had a ripple effect, according to Monaghan, starting with those who can make things happen and then radiating into the Church and culture. Even back in the 1990s Legatus was called “the most influential lay organization in the Church” by Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua, the first international chaplain for Legatus from 1988 to 2012.

And during a Legatus papal audience in 1988, Pope St. John Paul II told them: “The world needs genuine witnesses to the Christian ethics in the field of business and the Church asks you to fulfill this role publicly and with perseverance.”

It was after Monaghan’s dream opportunity in 1987 of attending Mass with Pope St. John Paul II in his private chapel and shaking hands with him afterwards that Legatus was born. Immediately following that experience, Monaghan was inspired to model an organization after the Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO), a group for networking among heads of businesses aged 50 and younger, but to make his group about the Catholic faith. He wanted to evangelize the heads of top companies by filling them with Catholic inspiration and truths to bring back to their families, their businesses, the Church, and the culture.

And So It Began

On June 2, 1987, just one month after Monaghan met the Pope, Legatus took hold in Michigan with a meeting of 11 men in Ann Arbor. It has been growing ever since with 87 chapters, which includes 2,700 executive members and over 5,000 total members including spouses.

“Legatus was a response to Pope John Paul II’s request to evangelize,” Monaghan said. “CEOs are influential because most people look up to those who are successful.” He explained that too often, successful people are looked up to for the wrong reason— worldly success. It’s more important that Catholics in the public eye give a good example, according to him. “That’s what the word Legatus means—ambassador,” he said. “They can evangelize just by being so visible. It’s quite an accomplishment to have achieved the level of a CEO and still be a practicing Catholic.”

Those that run big companies are a rare breed, Monaghan said, because it takes a lot to get to the top and to stay there. “Because of that, they need more spiritual support and more graces,” he said. “Everything else they do pales in comparison to their work and generosity for the Church, because that can make a difference in someone’s eternity.”

Into the Future

“We have an aggressive plan to grow Legatus in both quantity and quality,” said Stephen Henley, who became the organization’s sixth executive director last year. He explained that the goal is to become a global organization, doubling in size in three to four years, then moving into Latin America, Europe, Asia, the Pacific Rim, Africa, India and into the rest of the world. “Tom is a visionary through and through,” Henley said. “He has laid out the strategic plan on how it will grow and he’s developed new positions to better serve our current members.”

Unlike businesses where growth is about increased profits, Henley said that Legatus is about profiting souls. “This is about expanding the true mission of Legatus — to teach and support members in their faith so that they can better support the Church, especially during these times.”

Monaghan has never made a penny on Legatus, and even pays his own annual dues. A recent calculation, according to Henley, revealed that Monaghan has contributed more than $1.5 million of his own money, but the organization is now self-sufficient and there is a succession plan in place. When Monaghan is no longer able to serve as chairman and CEO, the executive director will become the CEO. “But Tom’s doctors tell him he could easily have another 20 years,” Henley stated. “Tom isn’t ever going to retire; he’s going to be with us to the end.”

New Blood

As chapters grow and new ones are formed, there is a move to bring in younger members. Henley pointed to Craig Henry, who joined at 45 and became a founding charter member and the inaugural president of the Lafayette-Acadiana chapter, as a good example of that.

Henry is the founder, owner and president of MAS Transportation & Logistics, LLC, based in Lafayette, LA, and managing partner in the Bradford Food Group, a food distribution and bakery company which operates in Mexico and the U.S. He and his wife Jamie have three children.

It was good friends Sam and Sally LaVergne who introduced the Henrys to Legatus through the Baton Rouge Chapter in July 2013. “Legatus has literally changed our lives,” Henry said. Although they went to Sunday Mass (usually), and their kids were in Catholic school, he admitted that something was missing.

“We kept feeling like we had a hole in our hearts that we could not fill,” Henry said. “We didn’t know what to do with the fruits of our success and like many lost 40-year-old souls, we weren’t living our Catholic faith as Christ intended.” After attending their first Legatus Summit in Orlando in January of 2014, Henry said that he felt “reborn.”

“We learned what the Church stood for and how we could utilize our successes to be true ambassadors for Christ,” he said. “Legatus changed how we ran our businesses and showed us how to lead by Christian example.”

When Henry reluctantly — after much prayer — agreed to step up as inaugural president of the new Lafayette-Acadiana Legatus Chapter, with the help of many other great Catholic business leaders, they broke the Legatus record at charting with 54 member couples.

He described Monaghan as a great friend and mentor who has helped him in both business and his spiritual life. “He challenged me to say a rosary every day for the rest of my life and I’ve done it for years now.” Recently, while saying a rosary in the car after getting a new puppy, he chuckled to hear his daughter say to the dog: “Duke, get ready, this happens all the time.”

“Legatus has focused us on our faith even with the friends we have, how we raise our kids and run our businesses, and how we view our faith and spread it,” Henry said. “It has touched everything in our life. “

PATTI MAGUIRE ARMSTRONG wrote the newly published book, Legatus @ 30, is an award-winning author and Catholic journalist, TV and radio commentator, and mother of 10.



Tom Monaghan meets with Pope St. John Paul II who inspires him to form Legatus

First chapters form in Michigan and Honduras

First Legatus retreat held on Drummond Island, MI


First Legatus “University” meeting held in Ann Arbor, Michigan

Legatus membership at 124

Archbishop Justin Rigali named international ecclesiastical advisor

Pope St. John Paul II meets with Legatus pilgrims at Vatican


Legatus celebrates fifth anniversary, 672 members


First Legatus awards at the National Awards Banquet and Celebration at Dearborn Inn, Dearborn, Mich.

Revised Legatus Mission Statement is published: “To study, live and spread the Faith in our business, profession and personal lives.”


Legatus founder Thomas Monaghan sells Domino’s Pizza to devote his time and resources to philanthropic work

Legatus members meet with Pope St. John Paul II and Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger at the Vatican while on pilgrimage

Legatus has 1,200 members in 22 chapters


First Leadership Summit is held

Legatus website is launched: legatus.org


Legatus welcomes its 1,000th CEO member

Legatus pilgrimage and audience with Pope St. John Paul II


Legatus holds its first annual pro-life conference in Washington, D.C., which includes a 20-minute private visit with President George Bush


Legatus monthly newsletter becomes Legatus magazine accepting sponsorship advertising


Legatus charters seven chapters, breaking all previous chartering records: San Antonio, Ann Arbor, Lincoln, Tampa Bay, Baltimore, Houma-Thibodaux, Peoria.


Legatus celebrates its 20th anniversary with more than 4,000 members in 73 chapters


Legatus Annual Summit at the St. Regis Monarch Beach, Dana Point, CA hosts former President George W. Bush


Legatus 25th anniversary

At year’s end: 2,155 members and 75 chapters


Legatus begins new growth strategy and develops new position of Chapter development officer. In the next three years Legatus
charters 18 new chapters


Legatus surpasses all chartering records with eight
new charters: Lake Charles, Vancouver, St. Charles, Harrisburg, Charlotte, Madison, Washington, D.C., and Fairfield


30th anniversary of Legatus

80th birthday of the founder of Legatus, Tom Monaghan

88 chapters; 18 more in development

There are now 2,655 executive members and over 5,000 total members

Celebrating 30 years

Let me take this opportunity to congratulate you on the 30th anniversary of our founding. As you know, on May 7 we celebrate this special anniversary. As I look back over the past 30 years of Legatus, I am grateful for many things. I am grateful to Christ for his guidance and protection over these three decades and for all the ways He has blessed us. I am also grateful for the many people who have helped Legatus get to where we are today.

Tom Monaghan

There have been key leaders in the hierarchy whose support and encouragement assisted us at critical times. There have been countless members who have served on the national board and in leadership roles at the chapter level who have made Legatus the organization it is today. I also want to recognize our staff, both past and present, who have seen Legatus not as a job, but as their vocation.

As I reflect on our current society and the challenges we face (in the Church, in our families, in politics, in business), I am more convinced than ever of the importance of Legatus. Through Legatus, each of us can be supported and strengthened in our faith, and then in turn we can spread the Gospel to those we interact with on a daily basis. I am continually inspired by stories I hear of Legates who are doing this in a host of ways… be it supporting Catholic education, pro-life efforts, working with the poor, evangelistic efforts, taking leadership roles in their parishes / diocese… the list goes on and on. And as I look to the future, I am both enthusiastic and hopeful about the future of Legatus. As I travel the country visiting chapters, members routinely thank me for starting Legatus. I hear from new members who have made many great friends whose faith is on fire as a result, and from those who have been members for decades and point to Legatus as a great source of strength and support for them over the years.

Finally, I am struck by the need for us to pray for Legatus as an organization and for our fellow members. The work that we are doing is important and because it is important, I believe we will experience opposition both spiritually and otherwise. Please join me in praying daily for Legatus as a whole and for all of our members. By now all of you should have received the book, Legatus @ 30, which we published on the occasion of this anniversary. Let me encourage you to read it and share it with others. It is not just a nice book we published to chronicle our history, but an opportunity for each of us to be reinvigorated by our mission. May each of us continue to study, spread and live our faith!

TOM MONAGHAN is Legatus’ founder and chairman.