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North Dakota

‘Servant of God’ title bestowed on Michelle Duppong at cathedral Mass initiating the canonization process – InForum

HAYMARSH, ND – The information that her daughter Michelle is being thought of for canonization in the Catholic Church got here at the finish of an atypical however very busy spring day at the Duppong household farm.

Michelle’s father, Ken, her sister, Renae, and some employed helpers had taken the cows out to pasture and herded them by means of the pens. “Renae was exhausted and covered in dirt,” mentioned her mom, Mary Ann, coming in to bathe round 9 p.m

Shortly thereafter, that night on June 15, the cellphone rang and Mary Ann heard a really excited Monsignor James Shea, President of the University of Mary, on the different finish. She wasn’t ready for what occurred subsequent.

“Congratulations on the news about Michelle! It’s so exciting!” mentioned Shea. “What news?” she requested.

Shea shortly realized that Mary Ann didn’t know, and shared that earlier that night at a Mass, Bishop David Kagan formally introduced that he would current the purpose for her daughter Michelle’s canonization.

Not solely that, he and about 100 autos with different enthusiastic pilgrims deliberate to go away for Haymarsh that very same night time to go to Michelle’s grave and “thank God for this magnificent gift”.

Kent Wanner at Haymarsh - Michelle's Grave - Labor Day 2022.jpg

Michelle Duppong’s cousin Kent Wanner is pictured at her grave close to Hamarsh on Labor Day 2022.

Post / Duppong household

As of 10:30 p.m., the space close to her house the place Michelle is buried was filled with folks. “Only one person was ahead of us, walking along the cemetery fence,” Mary Ann recalled. It was Reverend Tom Grafsgaard, postulator for Michelle’s canonization process, who would provoke the inquiry into her life to show her sanctity.

A New “Servant of God”

Just just a few months later, on November 1, Bishop David Kagan formally introduced at an All Saints’ Day morning mass in Bismarck’s Cathedral of the Holy Spirit in entrance of round 500 those that the process of beatification and canonization had begun. He referred to as Michelle “Servant of God,” a title that signifies the first step towards potential canonization.

On that day, one of North Dakota’s personal saints joined such saints as Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Joan of Arc, and Jesus’ personal apostles, who have been being honored for his or her lives of heroic advantage.

Michelle, a former North Dakota State University pupil, died on Christmas Day 2015 at the age of 31 after an extended battle with colon most cancers.

Kagan mentioned that our religion and hope offers us confidence that though Michelle is now not bodily right here, she continues to be alive and with God. “And now it is up to us to do our best that the whole Church, which in time is universal, may come to know and love her as we do.”

The bishop mentioned the process of canonization is “long and very detailed” as a result of the Church fastidiously examines an individual’s life, virtues, sufferings and loss of life, with the final objective of emulating that individual as a mannequin of holiness to be treasured by all, emulate.

“Holiness is what God asks of each of us every day,” he mentioned, noting that we rejoice in the instance and energy of all the saints, “and at the moment we rejoice in a particular means and provides due to Almighty God for the present, that he gave (from Michelle) not simply to her household however to all of us.”

“We didn’t want to let her go”

Reverend James Cheney, NDSU Newman Center chaplain, represented the Diocese of Fargo at the Mass as co-celebrant with Bismarck monks.

Michelle Duppong and Father Cheney 2008 Seek Conference.jpg

Michelle Duppong is pictured with Father Cheney at the 2008 Seek Conference in Chicago.

Post / Duppong household

In some ways, he later mentioned, Michelle’s virtues have been strengthened by a strong devoted household, and recalled how effortlessly she launched folks to the life of religion on NDSU campuses and later by means of her work as a missionary to the neighborhood of Catholic college college students elsewhere introduced.

When her dire prognosis got here, Michelle was working in grownup religion training for the Diocese of Bismarck. “I got on a plane and flew her to Mayo that day,” mentioned Cheney, a pilot. “She was such a soldier and faced her (natural) fears head-on.”

Ultimately, no try to remedy her stage 4 most cancers labored, and Cheney flew her one ultimate time, a couple of yr later, from Chicago, the place she was being handled, again to Haymarsh. “She was in great pain, but she just offered anything to God for the conversion of others.”

Cheney famous that in this time, Michelle’s sister Renae “put all her life plans on hold and was by her side throughout the journey,” calling her “every bit of a saint.”

Landing in rural North Dakota that day, he gave Michelle one ultimate blessing. “My heart just went out to her. She was such a special woman,” he mentioned, “and we simply did not need to let her go. All of us – however particularly her household – fought for her.”

‘How did that even occur?’

At Mass, Mary Ann mentioned, she saved combating again tears. “It was clearly so humbling for us, and Ken and I are like, ‘This is so wonderful! How blessed are we to be right here to witness at the present time in reminiscence of our daughter but additionally for the common Church!”

Mass_Duppong Family.JPG

Michelle Duppong’s household are pictured at mass for the trigger of canonization

Contribution / Sonia Mullaly of the Diocese of Bismarck

She appeared again on Michelle’s life, she mentioned, together with the many obstacles she overcame, at all times “with such grace” with out doubting her mission of serving God.

“We have problems just like any other family,” affirmed Mary Ann, however Michelle was a blessing to her upbringing. “She just went with the flow and was very disciplined and very cheerful,” she by no means held grudges or boasted.

Mary Ann mentioned the household solely realized the magnitude of Michelle’s affect after her loss of life. Since then, many individuals have shared with the household how Michelle remodeled her life path – together with a number of monks who’ve been influenced by her silent encouragement.

“Michelle continues to work through so many souls,” she mentioned, including that regardless of the new intrusions into her life, they need to do no matter they’ll to help the process. “It gives me another mission to share Michelle’s story and give others hope in their own trials.”

Michelle was 10 years youthful than her Fargo cousin Kent Wanner, however their households spent quite a bit of time collectively and grew up on close by farms.

“I’ve been thinking that she was just a normal, hardworking person from North Dakota,” he mentioned after Mass, and but, wanting again, one thing extraordinary appeared to be occurring in Michelle’s soul.

Mass_Father Cheney.jpg

Reverend James Cheney, chaplain of North Dakota State University’s Newman Center, represented the Diocese of Fargo at the Mass as co-celebrant with Bismarck monks.

Contribution / Sonia Mullaly of the Diocese of Bismarck

Wanner’s personal mom, Jean, died of mind most cancers throughout Michelle’s sickness, and did so simply weeks earlier than Michelle breathed her final. “They had a special relationship until the end; that’s an image I’ll never forget,” he said. “Neither could do anything to help each other but to show love rather than despair.”

One of Michelle’s best qualities, he said, is her approachability. “She was funny, kind, and sincere in her faith,” and this became “the doorway to deeper relationships with people” that brought her closer to God.

“I know many people who have lived holy lives, but for some reason God is being extra generous right now,” Wanner added, not only to Michelle and her family, “but also to the people of this region by pointing out indicates that holiness is for all.”

Michelle, he mentioned, exemplified how rewarding a life devoted to God might be and that nobody is exempt from it. “She was of the sticks—someone that no one would normally pay attention to,” however in her struggling and receptivity to Him, God introduced a “spark” to deliver others to religion.

“That’s what we should all strive for,” Wanner mentioned of holiness. “Just like with Michelle, God can do this for normal, everyday people.”

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