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Steve Handen, founder of Marian House soup kitchen, dies at age 81

08/06/2021 | Comments

COLORADO SPRINGS. Longtime Colorado Springs resident Steve Handen, who founded the Marian House soup kitchen, died July 12 at age 81. Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated July 23 at Sacred Heart Church in Colorado Springs.

Handen was born Sept. 20, 1939. He was ordained a Catholic priest in 1965 but left the priesthood in 1973 and married Mary Lynn Sheetz. He formed The Bijou Community, which promoted nonviolence and serving the poor, and began serving free meals from his home.

The soup kitchen operated at several locations in the city before moving to the old Marian House building, which was previously a convent for the Sisters of Loreto. Catholic Charities of Central Colorado took over the operation of the soup kitchen in 1994. 

“For so many who have worked in the social service sector in Colorado Springs, regardless of faith, Steve Handen was the standard-bearer for true, authentic, work of charity and social justice,” said Andy Barton, President and CEO of Catholic Charities of Central Colorado. “Consistent with the greatest traditions of our Church, like the Catholic Worker movement, Steve created community with and for our poor and vulnerable. Nobody I know has exemplified God’s commandment to love thy neighbor in a more profound way than Steve Handen did during his life.”

Handen is survived by a daughter, Emmy Handen.

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