Ernest Ferlita, S.J.

Ernest Ferlita in 1962

From his obituary:

Father Ernest C. Ferlita, S.J. was called to eternal life on February 4, 2015, at St. Alphonsus Rodriguez Pavilion in Grand Coteau, LA. He was 87 years old, a Jesuit for 64 years and a priest for 52 years.

Born in Tampa, FL on December 1, 1927, Ernie attended grammar school at Holy Name School and Sacred Heart Academy before enrolling at Jesuit High School. After graduating, he attended Spring Hill College in Mobile and served in the US Army before entering the Society on July 30, 1950 at St. Charles College in Grand Coteau, LA. Following First Vows he studied humanities in Grand Coteau and philosophy at Spring Hill College in Mobile, AL before his regency at Jesuit High School in New Orleans, LA. He studied theology at St. Mary’s College and earned the S.T.L. in 1963. He was ordained in Mobile, AL on June 13, 1962.

Following his doctoral work, Fr. Ferlita began his teaching career at Loyola University. During this time he served as Chairman of Loyola’s Department of Drama and Speech (1970-88) and Chairman of the University’s Board of Directors (1972-75). He continued as a professor in the Drama Department until 2002, at which time he became an emeritus professor until 2010, when declining health dictated his move to retirement first at Ignatius Residence in New Orleans and eventually to the St. Alphonsus Rodriguez Pavilion in Grand Coteau, LA.

Fr. Ferlita was a prolific writer and his plays have received numerous awards and been translated into several languages and produced around the world. He was fascinated with the possibilities of linking drama with spiritual issues, and many of his works did just that, whether it was the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki or the martyrdom of Jesuits in 17th century Scotland or 20th century El Salvador.

It is a tribute to the timeliness of his work that one of his plays, The Witness was performed as part of the 2014 observance of the 25th anniversary of the killing of the Jesuits at the UCA in El Salvador.

He not only wrote, but directed regularly, both his own works and others. His writings also include opera librettos, books on spirituality, and a critical work on Gerard Manley Hopkins. He was a Fulbright scholar at Universidade de Parana in Curitiba, Brazil and a visiting professor at Boston College. He is preceded in death by his parents, Giuseppe and Vencenta (Ficarrotta) Ferlita, his brothers Rosario, Paul, James, Joseph, and William and his sisters Florence Saporito and Mary Tagliarini.

NFT Credits

Credit Type Production Season
PlaywrightBlack Media 1978-79 Season