Tag Archives: tom monaghan

The state of our soul

I am writing this column on the heels of a very powerful State of the Union address by the president and the season of Lent soon to be upon us. It struck me that in a sense Lent is the spiritual equivalent of the State of the Union address for each of us and the state of our soul. In business, we are accustomed to preparing elaborate annual reports for our shareholders or our banks as a way of showing the health of our company or organization. In her preeminent wisdom, the Church has built into the liturgical year this time for us to examine how we are doing in our spiritual lives.

Tom Monaghan

I have told the story innumerable times of how as a young man, I came up with a set of priorities to help me sort out how I wanted to live my life… I called these my five personal priorities. I first came up with the list when I was a Marine, during a voyage from the Philippines to Japan… as I had plenty of time aboard the ship to reflect on my life and goals. These five priorities are: spiritual, social, mental, physical, and financial. As I look back, approximately 60 years since setting those priorities, I am more convinced than ever of the importance of keeping the spiritual priority at the top of the list.

So, let me encourage you to take this season of Lent and examine how you are living your priorities. It is very easy for us to simply go through the motions and do what we have always done for Lent… Instead, I suggest that each of us take this season as a time to assess how we are really doing in living the priorities we have set for our lives. And let us approach this season with the same vigor and dedication with which the president prepares his State of the Union address or we prepare the annual reports for our companies… because when all is said and done, the only thing that really matters is the state of our souls and souls of those Christ has placed in our lives.

TOM MONAGHAN is Legatus’ founder, chairman, and CEO.

Tres Magna

As we begin this new year, the theme of the magazine is Renewed Purpose. I am asking you to resist the temptation of simply chalking this up as another New Year’s resolution topic that is convenient because it is that time of year. Indeed, I believe the topic of this column, Tres Magna, is extremely important to each member of Legatus.

Tom Monaghan

We are all aware of our mission as an organization to study, live, and spread the Catholic faith. However, as we go beneath the surface and engage what this really means, it is about growing in personal sanctity, which is no surprise to any of us because that is the goal of every Catholic.

So what is Tres Magna? This is Latin for Big Three. Some of you will remember in March 2017 my column was entitled The Big 3 of the Spiritual Life, and I challenged you at that time to attend daily Mass, pray the rosary every day, and go to Confession monthly!

My conviction of the importance of each of these has only continued to grow! About a year and a half ago, when the International Board of Governors met in Los Angeles, our ecclesiastical advisor, Archbishop Gomez, said (and I am paraphrasing here), I see Legatus being like a lay religious order. That statement really resonated with me and put into words the sense of purpose, focus, and vocation to which I, too, believe Legatus is being drawn. This call is not complicated nor is it anything new to the church And for me Tres Magna helps to make this call, this practice very specific.

We are all aware that the Mass is the highest form of prayer (or member of Legatus. worship), and while daily Mass certainly is not mandatory, as Vatican II says, it is the source and summit of our faith…In terms of the rosary, not only have popes throughout the ages called us to this devotional practice, but in Church-approved apparitions from Lourdes to Fatima, Our Lady consistently exhorts (dare I say, begs) the faithful to pray the rosary daily. And finally, monthly Confession. This is a part of the First Saturday devotion that I wrote about in my last column, and which has been built into every monthly chapter meeting.

Each of us is keenly aware of the current crisis in the Church and the challenges that loom before us. If we ever had a doubt as to why we exist as an organization, I believe it is for such a time as this. So, I encourage you in the strongest way I know to COMMIT to Tres Magna! Do not let it be something you just try, but resolve to do it and encourage your fellow members.

TOM MONAGHAN is Legatus’ founder, chairman, and CEO.

Five First Saturdays

Last year the church celebrated the 100th Anniversary of the Marian apparitions to three young children at Fatima. Most Catholics are familiar with Our Lady of Fatima, have seen this image, and know that these apparitions have been approved by the Church. However, somewhat less well known is that when Mary appeared to the children, she asked them (and us) to do several specific things, and she promised if we (Catholics) observed her requests, there would be peace in the world. I want to share about one of her specific requests — making Five First Saturdays — that Mary asked of the Church during these apparitions.

The First Saturday devotion is separate from the First Friday devotion, although they are often confused. Many Catholics are not familiar with making the First Five Saturdays – In Reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, but it continues to be important today. As mentioned above, this devotion is in response to our Lady of Fatima’s request to make reparation to her Immaculate Heart, performed with the intention of reparation for blasphemies against the Immaculate Heart for at least five consecutive Saturdays.

There are many pamphlets (and even on-line resources) available that explain in detail the history and specifics of this devotion. However, the four elements that Mary requested are straightforward; they are (1) reception of Communion, (2) Confession (on or shortly before or after the First Saturday), (3) recitation of the five-decade rosary, and (4) mediating for 15 minutes on one or more of the mysteries of the rosary — for five consecutive first Saturdays.

Let me conclude with a quote from Fr. Donald Calloway, MIC, who is a modern-day champion of the rosary and Marian devotion. He wrote, “I highly recommend it (making the Five First Saturdays) as a great spiritual practice! Get a monthly tune-up with Confession, Mass, Communion and immersing yourself in the Mysteries of the Rosary, all offered in reparation for the many serious offenses committed against Our Lady. Make the First Saturdays throughout your life for love of Our Lady and reap huge spiritual rewards.”

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.

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.

The big three of the spiritual life

As business executives, we all have to set priorities for our companies or organizations. A part of this process is recognizing what is core to our success. If this is the case for our businesses, how much more should we practice this principle in our spiritual lives!

Tom Monaghan

We all know that our ultimate goal is to get to heaven and to bring as many people with us as possible; this is the living and spreading of our faith that we talk about in the mission of Legatus.

There are obviously many facets to living our faith, but let me share with you what I call “the big three of the spiritual life.” I have talked about these over the years and have even used them as a challenge at commencement addresses.

The first time I did so was when I was scheduled to speak after Mary Beth Bonacci. If you have ever heard Mary Beth speak with all of her style and energy — and I had — you know what an unenviable task it is. I thought, “What can I say to these young men and women that will keep their attention and make an impact?”

And then it came to me. I threw out the notes I had prepared and decided to issue them a challenge to attend daily Mass, to pray the rosary every day, and to get to Confession at least once a month.

I asked those graduates to commit themselves to these three things for the rest of their lives. Well, the message was so well received that day that I have used it several times since. I pray that those young people have kept their commitment. It’s not complicated, but it is a challenge. In the context of Legatus, I don’t think it’s coincidental that we find all three of these elements present at our monthly chapter meetings — rosary, Reconciliation and Mass. Over the years, these three things have become the foundation for my spiritual life, and for this, I am grateful.

So as we begin this Lent, instead of giving something up (or in addition to your fasting), let me issue this challenge to you: Try daily Mass, praying the rosary every day, and monthly Confession and see how it goes. I guarantee you will not regret it.

TOM MONAGHAN is Legatus’ founder and chairman.

19th Annual Northeast Gala

Save the Date for the 19th Annual Legatus Northeast Christmas Gala

monaghan-kudlow, galaFRIDAY, DECEMBER 9. 6:00 PM.

Rosary, Confession, and Mass
59 Park Avenue (at East 38th Street)
New York, NY 10016

Followed by a reception and
black-tie dinner at

38 E 37th St, New York, NY 10016

With Legatus founder Thomas S. Monaghan
and special guest of honor & keynote speaker
Mr. Larry A. Kudlow

For more information and to RSVP, please contact John Knowles, Legatus Director for the Northeast Region: (215) 262-3832 or