of abandoning art, he has continued,
creating holy images as an iconographer. The abbot assigned him as curator of the abbey art collection and
museum. Because of the mechanical
skills he gained in the army and from
taking care of his motorcycle, Love
is also caretaker of the massive bells
high in a tower above the church.
“Brother Andre brings to the
community what every monk should
bring in his own unique way: the
desire for conversion, the desire to
live a life of prayer together with the
help of many brothers,” says Ab-
bot Jeremy Driscoll, a well-known
scholar chosen last year by his peers
as Mount Angel’s spiritual leader. “He
also brings a sense of hard work in
service of the community.”
Love is among a number of men
who have been coming recently to the
If there be skilled workmen in the mon-
astery, let them work at their art in all
humility, if the abbot giveth his permis-
sion (Rule of St. Benedict 57:1).
THIS PASSAGE in the Rule of Benedict led to one of the more important questions I was to
answer during the discernment period
prior to my entry into the monastery.
The abbot asked me how would I feel if
I was not asked to work as an artist for
the community. The question was truly
a test of the spirit.
My initial reaction was to balk.
Ever since my youth, I have identified as
an artist. This identity has completely
shaped how I perceive and interact with
the world. The abbot might as well have
asked me to stop being a man. Impossible; it is who I am. After some reflection it
occurred to me, this must be how the rich
man felt when Jesus told him to sell all he
had, give to the poor, and follow him.
My answer to the abbot was that
I came to the monastery to be a monk
not an artist. I gave that response in
trusting obedience to God. He knows
my heart and my deepest desires. He
alone knows where I will find fulfillment. I did, however, add one little
caveat: that no matter what task I am
assigned it will be accomplished in an
The artist’s eye
artistic manner. It will be brought to
fruition with a mind and heart sensitive
to form and design, beauty and order.
Upon entry to Mount Angel, I was
blessed with the opportunity to share
my talents as an artist, as a means of
contributing to the community. For
this, I am extremely grateful. I see in my
role, as artist and curator of art for the
abbey, the ability to share the gospel
message in a unique way that seems
tailored for my personality. By using a
vocabulary of symbols or through mindfully arranged exhibits in the museum,
I am participating in a silent dialog with
the many visitors of Mount Angel Abbey. My hope is that I can convey with
integrity the relevance and connectedness of all God’s universe.
Of course, the monastery is a busy
place and art is not all I am assigned
to do. But even when I am scrubbing
toilets, it is done with an artistic eye for
detail. I find myself trying to add just
the right measure of cleanser to the
bowl to achieve a perfect shade of blue,
similar to the sky on a cloudless summer
day. In this way, I am expressing my
appreciation for the beauty of creation.
This humble endeavor most likely will
go unnoticed, but it is still done that
God may be glorified in all things.
— Brother Andre Love, O.S.B.
monastery. As this article was being
written, the abbey had 16 men in
formation (preparing to become full
members) and seven men considering
entry after an initial live-in period.
For his part, Love does not par-
ticularly like talking about his past
life. But he feels obligated, after the
mercy God showed him.
“It’s funny. I get all these kudos:
‘It’s just amazing what you’ve done
with your life and how you turned it
around and made all these changes,’”
he says. “Actually, what I’ve done
is take a perfectly good life, run it
smooth into the dirt, and then ask for
help to get it out and then received
On top of that grace, he explains,
he was led to the life he was meant to
live—at a hilltop monastery. “After all
this wandering around and all these
relationships,” he says, “I realize I
was basically trying to figure out how
to get home.” =
“How to know where God is leading you.”