Stephen Aloysius Leven

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Stephen Aloysius Leven
Bishop of San Angelo
ChurchRoman Catholic
SeeSan Angelo
In office1969–1979
PredecessorThomas Ambrose Tschoepe
SuccessorJoseph Anthony Fiorenza
OrdinationJune 10, 1928
Personal details
BornApril 30, 1905
DiedJune 28, 1983(1983-06-28) (aged 78)
Blackwell, Oklahoma
Previous post(s)Bishop of San Antonio (auxiliary),
Bishop of Bure (titular)

Stephen Aloysius Leven (April 30, 1905 – June 28, 1983) was an American prelate of the Roman Catholic Church. He served as Bishop of San Angelo from 1969 to 1979.


Early life and education[edit]

Stephen Leven was born in Blackwell, Oklahoma, to Joseph J. and Gertrude (née Conrady) Leven.[1] One of nine children, he was raised on farms around Ponca City and Newkirk, where his father was a sharecropper.[2] He received his early education at St. Mary's School in Ponca City and St. Francis Academy in Newkirk.[2] He then attended St. Gregory's College in Shawnee, and later St. Benedict's College in Atchison, Kansas.[1] He studied for the priesthood at St. Mary's Seminary in Houston, Texas, for a year before entering the American College of the Immaculate Conception in Leuven, Belgium in 1922.[2]

Ordination and ministry[edit]

Leven was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Oklahoma on June 10, 1928.[3] At age 23, he was below the age requirement for ordination but was granted a dispensation by Pope Pius XI.[2] His first assignment was as a curate at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Oklahoma City, where he remained for four years.[1] During that period, he also served as secretary to Bishop Francis Kelley for two years.[1] He served as a pastor in Bristow and Drumright from 1932 to 1935.[1] In 1933, he began a street preaching ministry based on the work of the Catholic Evidence Guild.[2] On one occasion, the KKK burned a cross as a personal threat at a corner where Leven was accustomed to preach.

From 1935 to 1938, Leven served as vice-rector of the American College at Louvain.[1] Following his return to Oklahoma, he was appointed a pastor in Tonkawa and his native Blackwell in 1938.[1] From 1939 to 1940, he served as director of the National Center of Confraternity of Christian Doctrine.[1] During World War II, he was the official representative of the Holy See to nine German POW camps in Oklahoma.[2]

Auxiliary Bishop of San Antonio[edit]

On December 3, 1955, Leven was appointed auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of San Antonio and titular bishop of Bure by Pope Pius XII.[3] He was consecrated on February 8, 1956 by Bishop Eugene J. McGuinness, with Bishops Thomas Kiely Gorman and James A. McNulty serving as co-consecrators, at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Perpetual Help.[3] As an auxiliary bishop, he assisted Archbishop Robert E. Lucey in performing confirmations and ordinations.[2] Between 1962 and 1965, he attended all four sessions of the Second Vatican Council in Rome.[3] At the Council, he defended non-Catholics by saying, "It just is not bearable to hear them talked about as some kind of strange entity or freak."[4] He also spoke in favor of the increased participation of the laity.[2]

Bishop of San Angelo[edit]

Leven was appointed the third Bishop of San Angelo on October 20, 1969.[3] His installation took place at Sacred Heart Cathedral on November 25 of that year.[2] Credited with making the Diocese of San Angelo financially solvent, he resolved several long-standing financial problems that were burdening the diocese.[2] He also initiated the permanent diaconate program, which trained and ordained more than sixty men to serve as deacons in parishes and missions across the diocese.[2]

Leven resigned as Bishop of San Angelo due to poor health on April 24, 1979.[3] He retired to his native Blackwell, Oklahoma, and died there at age 78.[2]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Curtis, Georgina Pell (1961). The American Catholic Who's Who. Vol. XIV. Grosse Pointe, Michigan: Walter Romig.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "LEVEN, STEPHEN ALOYSIUS (1905–1983)". Handbook of Texas Online.
  3. ^ a b c d e f "Bishop Stephen Aloysius Leven".[self-published source]
  4. ^ "Texas Bishop Defends 'Separated Brethren'". St. Petersburg Times. 1963-11-27.
Catholic Church titles
Preceded by Bishop of San Angelo
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Auxiliary Bishop of San Antonio
Succeeded by