[Bio of Father Eric Ensey as posted on Society of Saint John website 06 March 2002]
It has been said that every man, whether he knows it or not, lives his life under the sway of one of the transcendentals; he pursues God under the aspect of truth, goodness, beauty or unity. And while he gives honor to all of these, to one he gives his special devotion, striving to extend its province on the world. If this be so, Father Eric Ensey is a disciple of the beautiful. His path to God was illuminated by the splendor of the real and with this splendor he has sought to light the path of others.
Father Ensey was born on August 13, 1966 in Upland, California, a suburb northeast of Los Angeles. The older of the two sons of Michael and Marion Ensey, he and his brother Brian spent a happy childhood in the maritime countryside of the San Fernando Valley. Eric did well in school, often earning honors, and developing a keen love for literature. During his middle school years he played soccer and ran track, but when he got to high school he fell in love with the theater and devoted all his free time to the performing arts. The young nominal Methodist, who won leading and supporting roles in Brigadoon and Arsenic and Old Lace gave himself completely to the “temple of the theater.” Other events, however, were drawing his mind to God.
Fr. Ensey appeared on EWTN’s “The Journey Home” on September 10, 1999 with host Marcus Grodi. Listen with Real Audio here.
Or, you can download the 56 minute audio file here.
A sudden fall left Marion Ensey paralyzed from the waist down, and brought Eric face to face with the prospect of his mother’s death. At the same time, his reading of The Crucible and The Scarlet Letter at school moved him to question deeply the place of Christ in his life.
Soon he began attending a Lutheran church, attracted by its’ many Roman beauties such as the singing of the Kyrie. Then a wrong turn at a local shopping mall in search of a job brought Eric to the Sacred Heart Shop where he was stunned and delighted by the Catholic religious art. He got to know the owners and bought many books and statues. All these influences bore fruit when Father was received into the Church in the spring of his senior year.
When Father Ensey approached the parish priest with his decision to enter the Church, he surprised him with a double request: he wanted not only to become a Catholic, but a priest as well. In September of 1987 Father Ensey entered the seminary of the Society of Pius X and eight years later he was ordained to the priesthood in vestments made by his mother.
These joys were augmented when Father received his mother back into the Church of her childhood and saw his father baptized.
After two busy but happy years working in Detroit, Father Ensey made the difficult decision to leave the Society of Pius X and become a founding member of the Society of St. John. By many twists and turns the Society of Saint John made its’ way to Elmhurst, Pennsylvania and St. Gregory’s Academy, the Fraternity of St. Peter’s boys’ school where the Society is now temporarily head-quartered. Father’s present duties include serving as Council Father for the Society’s supreme governing body and as assistant chaplain to the Academy.
Since coming to St. Gregory’s, where the poetic mode of teaching is strongly emphasized, Father has rediscovered his interest in the arts. “I have always loved good literature and verse. Then, as a newly ordained priest, I was introduced to the idea of the ‘poem of the cosmos’ – the view of creation as a sort of love letter from God to humanity, or, to change the theme, a grand musical composition. That’s the song I want to sing, I thought. Human poetry is at its’ height, it seems, when it’s in tune with the ‘big poem,’ just like a man’s life is only what is was intended to be when it rises and falls with the cadences planned by the divine Poet.”
Father Eric Ensey’s journey has been an adventure in the pursuit of the beautiful, an attempt to hear the divine harmonies and sing the divine song. By grace God has brought him to the Faith and the priesthood so that he might communicate to others “the knowledge of the glory of God, shining on the face of Christ Jesus.”