Johnstons May 2013-6743-EditEric M. Johnston is a husband and father of five. His family goes back four generations in Madison and other parts of Wisconsin, though he went to high school and college in St. Paul, Minnesota, and now has more family in the Northeast than anywhere else. His wife is from Rhode Island and Connecticut.

Eric did his undergraduate education at Carleton College and then the University of St. Thomas, Minnesota, majoring in theology and the great flagship of Catholic Studies. There he was introduced to Bl. John Henry Newman, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Augustine, and St. Thérèse, among others. He did his Master’s in Systematic Theology at Boston College, where he worked with Romanus Cessario, O.P., Fr. Matthew Lamb, and the great Franciscan medievalist Steve Brown – and where he met his wife. He then did his Ph.D. in medieval theology at the Catholic University of America, where he was much helped by the great scholar of Bonaventure and Francis, Regis Armstrong, O.F.M. Cap., but had his most formative experiences outside of the department, with Msgr. Robert Sokolowski and Kevin White in the great School of Philosophy, and liturgically at the Dominican House of Studies.

From Madison to St. Paul to Boston to Washington, Eric fell in love with cities, and he and his wife now own a home in the Ironbound district of Newark, NJ. Newark is rough, but there is much to love, including the presence of the CFR Franciscans.

In addition to theology and spirituality, Eric enjoys playing Bach on the piano, reading Evelyn Waugh, Flannery O’Connor, and Jane Austen, as well as European history, working on his house, and leisurely family walks in nearby New York City.

You may contact Eric at eric.m.johnston@gmail.com.


  1. Dear Professor Johnson
    I envy your graduate education. After leaving seminary which I attended through the diocese of Brooklyn for 10 years, up until 4th theology, the Spirit of Christ intervened and I was not called to the sub-deaconate. During the summer of 1956 I finally saw the actions of the faculty as a strong message from the Father so I did not return. I then went to the U of T in pursuit of a doctorate in Philosophy under Fr. Owens C.Ss.R. on the subject of Aristotle on Human. Cosmic, and Divine mind/nous.
    Outwardly all seemed fine, I married and had three children but my prayer life was lifeless. In the words of SS I was hard-hearted, all mind and no heart. I never noticed how often God and Jesus refer to the heart. My prayer was simply reading or saying the text, many times at great length but as I later realized not from the heart.
    The change came about beginning two years ago when I found myself blowing up almost once every few weeks about the inadequacy of my wife’s efforts to stabilize our marriage. She was a recent convert but poorly catechized and she would not allow me to teach her through the many books I purchased to help her. One day she suggested we read “Give Us This Day” in the morning and I would comment on the prayers usually the Psalms as well as SS. After reading St. Therese of Liseaux and St. Faustina I wanted to follow the little way. Very soon we began to ‘feel’, ‘sense’, ‘be aware’ of quite nudges in the direction of understanding and practicing guarding our tongues as well as actually praying the Divine Office, and the Rosary.
    I am always on the lookout for solid spiritual writing and you fill the bill. By the way I caught polio as an infant and spent 5 years in a residential hospital on Long Island under the care of Daughters of Wisdom. I came home just before my eighth birthday. I suspect the years of separation from my family was damaging although well intentioned.
    I derive so much joy and wisdom from your comments, I especially liked your comments on he submission issue in “Ephesians”. In our discussions in the morning we agreed that a better translation would be “wives support your husband” and dissolved any hangover from the submit translation. Thank you for your work and please continue, you are on a great mission.
    John R. Catan
    Professor Emeritus
    State University of New York at Brockport

    • And John – let me finally, on the first day of a new year, respond to this beautiful comment. It moved me when my wife read it aloud to me in the car last summer. But I haven’t done a good job of responding to comments.

      Anyway: thank you again for your faithfulness,

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