2012 Newly Professed Monks
at Mount Angel Abbey
By Br. Robert Maekawa
St. Benedict, OR. On September 10, in the Mount Angel Abbey church, three novices made their simple profession of vows and took new religious names. Brothers Jackson Conocido, Aage Nielsen, and Duy Nguyen took the names Lorenzo, Niels, and Louis de Montfort respectively to symbolize their new lives in Christ.
Br. Lorenzo Conocido, 32, is originally from the Philippines. He grew up in a typical Filipino Catholic family and attended Catholic schools, including a college run by Benedictines (San Beda). There he earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing management. Before coming to Mount Angel, he worked with his brother in the audio/visual field as a graphic artist and photographer. In 2009, while visiting his sister in Gresham, he attended amonastic vocation discernment retreat and was “overwhelmed.” Some things that struck him about Mount Angel were hospitality, love for music, serenity, and most of all, an intimate sense of God’s presence. This led him to seriously discern a monastic vocation and eventually apply for entrance into the Abbey. In 2011, he entered as a postulant. Br. Jackson now uses his A/V background to produce brochures for the Abbey vocations department! He also is assistant organist, schola member, photographer and the website administrator.
Br. Niels Nielsen, 47, was born in Portland and raised in Klamath Falls, Medford, and Texas. He went to Northwest Nazarene University and then received a master’s degree in interdisciplinary studies (medieval music and European history) at Boise State. Before coming to Mount Angel, he was a bass clarinetist with the Boise Philharmonic for 23 years. He also founded and co-directed a chamber music group that travelled the U.S. and Europe. He also taught music at schools and privately. Br. Niels is a convert from Lutheranism. His interest in Mary and apostolic succession along with a desire for a richer liturgy, led him into the Catholic Church in 2006. As a result of his musical background and medieval interests, he became interested in the douçaine, a medieval Danish woodwind instrument. These interests in turn helped him to discover monasticism which led him to Mount Angel. He entered as a postulant in June 2011. He now uses his musical talents as schola member, seminary instructor, arranger/musician, and douçaine performer for Mass and Vespers.
Br. Louis de Montfort Nguyen, 31, was born in Vietnam and raised in Orange County, California. He grew up in a traditional Catholic family and prayed the rosary daily with his 6 siblings. Before coming to Mount Angel, he went to medical school at UC-Davis (2004-2008) and did his residency in Sacramento (2008-2011).
It was during med school that his faith “took flight”, and he began a deeper prayer life. This began with a reading of “True Devotion to Mary” and a subsequent consecration to the Holy Mother. Influenced by devout lay people and priests, he went on life-changing missions to Guatemala and Vietnam. Eager to follow God’s will, he heard about Mount Angel through a priest and went online. Within a week of finishing his medical residency in 2011, he entered the Abbey as a postulant. Br. Louis is now the Abbey’s head infirmarian as well as head florist, barber, and schola member.