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Thursday, Feb. 2nd 2017

Monk professes first monastic vows

Monk professes first vows at Conception Abbey

On February 2, 2017, the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, Fr. Stephen Keusenkothen professed temporary vows as a Benedictine monk of Conception Abbey.

Fr. Stephen was presented to Abbot Benedict by, Bro. Jacob Kubajak, OSB and made his formal declaration to be received into vows. Abbot Benedict proceeded to give a short admonition, explaining the challenges and joys of the life he was about to embrace.

“How fitting on this beautiful feast of Our Lord’s Presentation that you also present yourself to profess simple vows in this community. How fitting on this World Day of Consecrated Life that you are consecrating yourself completely to the praise and service of God as a Benedictine monk of Conception Abbey.”

After the homily and according to monastic tradition, Abbot Benedict gave Fr. Stephen a new name: Aquinas, placing him under the patronage of St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church. Fr. Aquinas then professed his temporary vows of stability, fidelity to the monastic way of life, and obedience according to the Rule of St. Benedict. The outward sign of his profession, the long scapular, was then conferred upon him. Each member of the community then exchanged a sign of peace with Fr. Aquinas, as they formally recognized his acceptance into the community as a brother monk.

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As a temporarily professed monk, Fr. Aquinas will have a continued period of prayer and discernment with his brother monks to determine whether he is truly called to the monastic life.

Fr. Aquinas, a native of Dexter, Mo., was born on January 31, 1966, to Gene and the late Laverne Keusenkothen.

He first came to Conception Abbey in 1990 to discern a monastic vocation. In 1994, Fr. Aquinas decided to continue his discernment with the order of Claretian Missionaries and was ordained a priest July 16, 2003. He was assigned a missionary in Kingston, Jamaica. In 2012 he was incardinated in the Archdiocese of Kingston and served in its parishes for ten years.

In 2016 he returned to Conception Abbey to re-discern a monastic vocation and had most recently been assigned to work in the pastoral formation program at Conception Seminary College among other duties in the monastery.

Fr. Aquinas’ profession brings the number of professed monks at Conception Abbey to fifty-five.

Posted in Monastery News

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