10/12/2011 12:59:00 PM Two new monks make first vows at abbey
Brother Jesús Maria Leija
Brother André Love
ST. BENEDICT — Last month in the Mount Angel Abbey church, Abbot Gregory Duerr received monastic vows from novice Brothers Jesús Leija, who received the monastic name Brother Jesus Maria, and Robert Love, who received the monastic name Brother André. Their new names are a symbol of their new life in religion. The ceremony was held at the Mass for the Feast of the Nativity of Mary, the traditional day for monastic community simple professions.
Jesús Leija is the 12th of 14 children. Before settling in Moses Lake, his parents emigrated from Mexico as farm workers. His family was a traditional religious Mexican family who prayed together, received the sacraments and attended Mass regularly.
After high school, Jesús attended Denver Automotive & Diesel College, earning a master technician degree in diesel mechanics. He worked for Conway Freight Company in Wilsonville for more than years before entering the abbey as a postulant in March of 2010.
Robert Love was born the third of five children to Gerald and Janice Gagnon. The Gagnon family was close and nurturing, but moved frequently with his father’s work, ultimately settling in Texas. Robert grew up in a practicing Catholic family and was initiated in the sacraments.
At age 17, Robert enlisted in the army and excelled, achieving the rank of Sergeant. After leaving the Army, he made a successful living as an artist specializing in tattoo art. He legally changed his name to Bobby Love. His paintings have been featured in many venues around the country.
In 2006, he enrolled in the RCIA program at St. Joseph Parish in Salem to prepare for the sacrament of confirmation. He was confirmed in April 2007.
After his confirmation, Robert gave up tattooing and took employment as a sign artist in Newport. He became a daily communicant and was very active in parish activities. In May 2009, Robert made a monastic discernment retreat. He applied to the monastery and began as a postulant in March of 2010.