He was educated at Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa, Saint Ambrose College in Davenport, Iowa and studied for the priesthood at Kenrick Seminary near Saint Louis, Missouri. He also completed graduate studies at the University of Iowa.
He served as Bishop of Sioux City in the state of Iowa from 1983 to 1998. Early life & Ministry
He was ordained a priest on May 6, 1950 for the Diocese of Davenport. He was engaged in both academic and pastoral work in the diocese as a priest.
Soens" first assignment was as an assistant pastor at Saint Paul"s Church in Burlington.
He then joined the faculty of Saint Ambrose Academy in Davenport and then became the assistant pastor at Saint Bridget"s Church in Victor. Soen"s next assignment was as director of Regina High School in Iowa City.
He went on to become the rector of Saint Ambrose Seminary and served on the faculty of Saint Ambrose College in Davenport. His next assignment was as pastor at Assumption Church in Charlotte and Saint Patrick in Villa Nova.
He was pastor at Saint Mary"s Church in Clinton when Pope John Paul II named him a Prelate of Honor, with the title of Monsignor on December 18, 1981.
Bishop of Sioux City
On June 15, 1983 Pope John Paul II named Msgr. Soens as the fifth bishop of Sioux City. He was consecrated a bishop and installed on August 17, 1983 at the Cathedral of the Ephiphany by Archbishop James Joseph Byrne.
Bishops Gerald Francis O"Keefe of Davenport and Frank Henry Greteman Bishop Emeritus of Sioux City were the principal co-consecrators.
While he was bishop of the diocese many programs were established or expanded including: Ministry 2000, the Priests Retirement Fund, youth ministry programs and the diocese mandated parish pastoral and finance commissions. In 1997 Soens requested a coadjutor bishop be named and on August 19, 1997, Pope John Paul II named Msgr.
Daniel DiNardo from the Diocese of Piitsburgh. Bishop Soens resignation as Bishop of Sioux City was accepted by the Holy See on November 28, 1998, and he was named Bishop Emeritus of Sioux City.
After his resignation as bishop of Sioux City he was accused of fondling as many as 15 students during his tenure as principal at Regina Catholic High School in Iowa City during the 1960s.
Soens denies the allegations. However, numerous allegations continue and the actual number of students who say he abused them has risen.