Sister Michael Francine Duncan

The first Sister of St. Mary of Oregon I met was Sr. Joyce Barsotti. She was hosting an evening retreat, “Come and See,” at St. Vincent Parish in Salem, Ore. It was in March, very rainy, and I was the only person to show up for the retreat. It was very intimidating for me to be the only one to attend with five Sisters whom I just met for the first time. I trusted God to know what was good for me and I found myself praying my way through the retreat. I liked all the Sisters who were there and eventually became comfortable. I took brochures of the different religious orders and went home.

A few days later I called Sr. Joyce and we spoke about reading material. I visited her and chose a Thomas Merton book, Seven Story Mountain. As I read the book, it pretty much helped change my life and inspired my interest and commitment to seek out a religious life.

I visited the Motherhouse of the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon several times and started to discern with the Sisters. As I learned more about the Sisters’ daily routine, I found that the rhythm of prayer and work resonated with my heart. One of the Sisters who helped me enormously was Sister Angeline Sohler. We worked together in the SSMO Foundation Office, and I appreciated her quiet and creative personality. I entered the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon in 1998. Sr. Angeline has been a friend and support during all my years with the Sisters.

I have experienced several different ministries, and now as Vocation Director, I am able to help women who are interested in religious life. I assist them in navigating their spiritual yearnings and the practicalities of investigating their vocational call to religious life. I also work as a mental health counselor, and this I enjoy very much.

My hobbies and interests are in art, crafts, reading and hiking. I enjoy volunteer work at Camp Howard, trying my hand at any jobs that need to be done, especially cutting grass, pruning and other yard work.