Monaghan

by Joseph Pearce, Tan Books, £23

Before I read this biography I would not have thought that the life of the man who built the Domino’s Pizza empire would have merited much attention. I was wrong.

Tom Monaghan, the subject of Joseph Pearce’s intriguing new book, shows what is possible when a man starts a huge business, making millions of dollars in the process, and then decides to dedicate his fortune to good works. But not just any good works and not simply “virtue-signalling” to the world about how philanthropic he is. As Pearce comments, “Few people have done more to shape the Church in the US in the past 30 years than Tom Monaghan.”

Through sheer obstinacy, prayer, an intelligent assessment of what was needed and by allowing himself to be guided by mentors such as the late Fr Michael Scanlan of the Franciscan University at Steubenville, Monaghan has over the years founded Ave Maria School of Law, Ave Maria Radio, Ave Maria Singles (a Catholic dating agency) and Ave Maria University in Naples, Florida. He has also helped to provide a home for the flourishing Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist. These are just his major enterprises.

What made a boy who was sent to foster homes and an orphanage when his father died, and whose mother rejected him, achieve so much? The key to Monaghan’s extraordinary story surely lies in his Catholic faith, which enabled him to succeed despite several severe setbacks which would have broken lesser men.

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