Kevin Russell Steen attended Abbey Prep School in Richardton, North Dakota, a Benedictine boarding school. He graduated from there in 1957 and joined the religious community, making temporary vows as a Benedictine in 1960. Steen continued studies for the priesthood at St. John's College in Collegeville, Minnesota, graduating in 1963. That same year he made solemn vows as a Benedictine Monk. In 1966 he was ordained.
Steen's first assignment was as principal of the Abbey Prep School. Two years later, he went to the mission priory in Bogota, Colombia, where he studied Spanish and taught English as a Second Language for two years. He was then called back to Richardton to be Dean of Students at Assumption College. Two years later, the college closed and he was sent to St. Gregory's College in Shawnee, Oklahoma, to be the Spanish instructor. After one year of teaching there he went to the University of Madrid in Spain where he completed a masters degree in Spanish literature.
Upon his return from Spain, Steen was assigned to teach at St. Mary's College in Bismarck, North Dakota. This college was run by the Benedictine sisters with the help of several of the teachers from Assumption Abbey. He taught Spanish and English there for three years. Then, as Steen notes--"all hell broke loose."
He was called back to the Abbey and the Abbot informed him that, having been told that he was a "homosexual," Kevin was being sent to a place in Maryland for a "cure." Steen explained that he was celibate and that there was no cure, but the Abbot was determined to remove him from St. Mary's College. Then the Abbot assigned Steen to take over a parish on an Native American reservation in northwest North Dakota. This was a county parish of some 20 families in the middle of the prairies. Steen recalls having nightmares at the thought of being forced to live like a hermit among the tall grasslands of North Dakota.
Rather than take this assignment, Steen requested a leave of absence for one year, which was granted. With no job, no money, and the prospect of telling his family what was going on, Steen was in great emotional distress. Fortunately, he was hired as a bilingual Spanish/English-speaking representative by the Social Security Administration in Los Angeles. After working there for one year he was transferred to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). Steen remained with NLRB, with the exception of one year (1988) when he was on loan to the the U.S. Department of Justice to help with the introduction of new immigration laws, until he retired from federal service in 2001.
Shortly after leaving the monastery, Kevin met the love of his life, Keith Kimball, and the couple celebrated their 31st anniversary in March, 2007. (Kimball retired from employment with the Internal Revenue Service in 2000.) Upon his arrival in Los Angeles in 1977, Steen immediately joined Dignity Los Angeles. He has served twice as chapter president and currently serves as chair liturgy and spiritual development.
(This biographical statement provided by Kevin Steen.)
Biography Date: April, 2007
Catholic (Roman) | Dignity | Conversion Therapy | Ordination/clergy