Steven Payne, OCD, was born in Ames, Iowa in 1950, and entered the Washington Province of Discalced Carmelites in 1972, making his profession the following year. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1982. He earned a Ph.D. in philosophy from Cornell that same year (with a dissertation on John of the Cross), and a Ph.D. in theology from the Catholic University of America in 2000 (with a dissertation on the doctorate of St. Thérèse of Lisieux). For many years he was editor of Spiritual Life magazine and ICS Publications, and has taught and written widely on Carmelite topics, including as a lecturer in the Carmelite Studies certificate program at the Washington Theological Union.
He is a past president of the Carmelite Institute of North America (2001-2005). From 2005 to 2012, he was assigned to the Discalced Carmelite community in Nairobi, Kenya, where he served as Director of the Institute of Spirituality and Religious Formation (2006-2011) and Principal (2012-2017) at Tangaza University College. After a sabbatical year, he has been reassigned to Washington, DC. As returning president, he welcomes the opportunity to assist the Carmelite Institute in sharing the riches of our heritage with the members and friends of the extended Carmelite family, in North America and beyond.