Labouré Society Executive Director John Flanagan with his wife, Heidi
March 3rd, 2017
The Labouré Society has named a new Executive Director, John Flanagan, to lead the organization as of March 3, 2017. Labouré is a national Catholic non-profit organization that trains and equips future priests, sisters and brothers to become effective, relationship-based fundraisers, and grants them awards to help eliminate their student loan debt so that they may enter religious formation. Instead of waiting for 10-20 years, participants in Labouré’s program can join their religious communities and dioceses – which cannot accept candidates with unpaid student loans -- in 6 to 30 months.
Flanagan is the architect of Labouré’s innovative fundraising model, grounded in the Catholic faith while rooted in best business practices. Vocation candidates in Labouré’s program raise funds as a collective “class,” helping each other achieve their goal of service to God and the community. Donations to Labouré classes are fully tax-deductible, while gifts to support specific individuals who have a calling to religious life are not. This program has achieved remarkable results, enriching the candidates’ spiritual lives, strengthening their vocations, and alleviating their debt.
Flanagan began his career with Labouré as a consultant. For the past five years he has been the Director of Programs, and now will serve as Executive Director. Flanagan was born in California and has lived in St. Paul for the past 18 years with his wife, Heidi, and six children. He is a member of St Joseph’s parish and the Community of Christ the Redeemer. A graduate of Loma Linda University, he came to Minnesota through service as a missionary of both NET Ministries and Saint Paul’s Outreach. He will assume overall leadership responsibilities of Labouré while continuing to oversee the fundraising program.
Labouré was founded in 2003 by local businessman and entrepreneur Cy Laurent and his wife Evie. In the late 1990s Laurent identified the student loan debt problem as a major stumbling block to aspiring vocations. Since 2003 Labouré has delivered over 260 men and women into religious formation, and those men and women have raised $5.4 million in debt reducing funds. Of the 260 candidates trained by Labouré, approximately 80 percent have gone on to ordination, profession of final vows, or are currently in formation. 105 religious communities throughout the United States have Labouré “graduates” as members; the candidates themselves come from all over the country. In 2016 Labouré awarded more than $770,000 to reduce the student debt of participants in its program.
Flanagan declares: “Cy will always be the founder of Labouré. He has left an extraordinary legacy to the Catholic Church of delivering hundreds of vocations which would otherwise have been lost. We are extremely grateful to Cy and Evie for their selfless contributions over so many years, and for Cy’s vision of a ministry that would help discerning men and women realize their dream and calling of serving our blessed Lord and His Church. Labouré is now in an extraordinary growth phase, and we owe this good news to Cy and Evie’s hard work and love of the Church. He and Evie were courageous in following God’s call to build the Labouré Society. They both are dear friends and will always be part of the Labouré family.”
For more information please email info@Labouresociety.org or call 651-212-4963