Fr Stephen, 34, was born in Columbus, Ohio. When you
ask him where he is from, though, he responds Thompson,
Ohio, in the Cleveland Diocese where he grew up; his
parents moved there when he was about two years old.
The family joined St Patrick Parish and Fr Stephen and
his younger brother attended CCD classes there every Saturday morning
under the very paternal guidance of Fr Hugh Bode, their
parish priest. Fr Stephen received his first communion and confirmation
at St Patrick.
|Fr. Stephen Ellis L.C.|
He spent many of his years
growing up training and showing quarter horses. His parents had
him on horses before he could walk and talk.
Stephen was a student of Ledgemont schools from kindergarten through
his senior year, graduating salutatorian in 1991. He first began
thinking that God might be calling him to the priesthood
when he was in 9th grade. He wasn’t sure, though,
and decided to attend college first, remaining open to the
He made a deal with Mary, promising to take
care of himself in college, pray the Rosary everyday and
go to Mass more frequently, in exchange for knowing for
certain after those four years that he did or did
not have a vocation. So, he went to the University
of Dayton in the fall of 1991. “I was there
two weeks and had so much fun, that I was
convinced that it meant I didn’t have a vocation,” Fr
Stephen says. “Mary didn’t give up so easily, though, and
kept her part of the deal.”
Right before Christmas break
in the middle of his second year at college, Fr
Stephen said somehow he was certain he had a vocation.
“I was so happy, that sometimes I couldn’t sleep at
night,” he comments. He ordered through the mail from a
Catholic goods company a picture of the Sacred and Immaculate
Hearts as a Christmas gift for his parents’ new house,
and when it arrived, there was another unexpected gift in
the box. It was a copy of LeCristo, the Legion
of Christ’s newsletter.
Fr Stephen said: “As soon as I
finished reading that newsletter, even though I had never heard
of the Legion of Christ before, I knew without a
doubt that God wanted me to be a Legionary.”
had kept her promise, and in June of 1993, he
left to join the candidacy program of the Legion of
Christ in Cheshire, CT.
Fr Stephen received his Legionary formation
in Ireland, Spain and Italy. He worked as assistant to
the novice instructor in the Legion’s Canadian novitiate from 1998
to 2001. He obtained his philosophy and theology degrees from
the Legion’s university in Rome, Regina Apostolorum, and is currently
the territorial secretary for the Legion’s New York Territory.