Abbot Damien is the fourth of eight children born to
Ierenimo and Sosefina Toilolo, Samoan immigrants.
Born in San Diego, he grew up in Los Angeles
and attended schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District.
After graduating from college with a degree
in Liberal Studies from CSU Dominguez Hills, he served 3 years as a volunteer
at the Franciscan Youth Center in Baltimore, Maryland, as part of a lay mission
program sponsored by the Franciscan Sisters of Baltimore.
Returning to California, he earned his
California teaching credential and taught grades 6-8 in Carson at St. Philomena
School with the Carmelite Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus of Los
It was the Sisters who steered
Abbot Damien to Valyermo.
During his twelve years as a monk of Valyermo, Abbot Damien
has served his community in various roles, including postulant master, novice
master, vocation director, and subprior.
In June 2008 he was appointed Prior Administrator for two years, and on
June 21, 2010 his community elected him Abbot for 8 years. Abbot Ansgar
Schmidt, O.S.B., President of the Benedictine Congregation of the Annunciation
presided over and confirmed the election.
Please keep Abbot Damien and the monks of Valyermo in your
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