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Turn to Jesus (Article)

Mary kept her promise

Fr. Ellis
Fr. Stephen Ellis L.C.
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.

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.

Fr 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 idea.

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.”

Mary 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.



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