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Canonization process opens to declare FOCUS missionary saint

portrait of young woman

Diocese of Bismark

Philip Kosloski - published on 06/16/22

Bishop David Kagan opened the canonization process for Michelle Duppong, who was a FOCUS missionary in North Dakota.

On June 15, Bishop David Kagan officially opened the canonization process for Michelle Duppong, a young woman from North Dakota, who was also FOCUS missionary during her short life.

This announcement begins the diocesan phase (called the diocesan inquiry) of Duppong’s canonization process, which will include an in-depth review of her life. If the investigation reveals that her life was lived with “heroic virtue,” then the Diocese of Bismarck will recommend her cause to the Vatican for consideration.

The story of Michelle’s life

Duppong was born on January 25, 1984 and her family moved after her birth to a farm near Haymarsh, North Dakota.

According to her obituary, after graduating from High School, she attended North Dakota State University, where she first encountered the ministry of FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students).

She then became a missionary for FOCUS after graduating from college and worked as a missionary for six years, mentoring, “hundreds of students at the college campuses of University of Nebraska – Lincoln, South Dakota State University, University of South Dakota, and the University of Mary.”

Duppong then became the Director of Adult Faith Formation for the Diocese of Bismarck, and on “December 29, 2014, Michelle was unexpectedly diagnosed with cancer, which began a year-long journey that brought many joys in the midst of sorrows and suffering. She received everything with a docile spirit, praying that the Lord’s Will be done and trusting in His Providence.”

She died on Christmas Day, December 25, 2015.

Her life and example have continued to inspire many young people in their faith and has led Bishop Kagan to investigate her life, hoping to hold-up her example for the whole world to see.

There are at present 10 Americans who are formally canonized Saints. Perhaps the Church will soon declare Michelle among these inspiring examples of holiness!

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