Welcome to our new monthly feature—Meet an Ursuline. Throughout 2013 we look forward to introducing you to some of our Ursuline Sisters in service throughout the country and around the world. First up~Sister Mary Alice Duggan, O.S.U.
Sister Mary Alice lives in Rome, Italy. Fluent in French, she’s missioned to our Ursuline Generalate (headquarters) where she does written and oral translations for our international Order. Sister also shares in the life of our international novitiate which is located there.
Sister Mary Alice grew up in the Bronx, New York. She’s the oldest of five children who all attended Catholic school and were taught by Sisters. She also had some cousins who were Sisters, so religious life was familiar to her from a young age. When she was in 8th grade she attended a special prayer service during which she felt sure that God wanted her to be a Sister.
It was as a high school student in the Bronx that Sr. Mary Alice met the Ursulines. The thought of being a Sister stayed in the back of her mind during her high school and college years. After her junior year at college, she made the decision to respond to God’s call to be an Ursuline. Sr. Mary Alice felt attracted to the Ursulines by their liturgical and personal prayer which they helped their students develop and appreciate. She was also attracted by their spirit of joy with one another and with their students. And finally, she was drawn by the international dimension as they taught about the various parts of the world where Ursulines serve.
For many years after becoming an Ursuline, Sr. Mary Alice enjoyed sharing her enthusiasm for the French language and culture while teaching high school and also preparing liturgical celebrations with the students. Before going to Rome last year, Sister served as a hospital and hospice chaplain, being present to and praying with patients and families in their time of need. From them she continued to learn of God’s faithful love which has always been a part of Sister’s life. Currently, Sr. Mary Alice is happy to use her gift of language in this international setting and grow in her daily living of the call the Lord continues to make throughout life. About the present Sr. Mary Alice says, “I’m energized by being with and learning from my Sisters, both young and old.”
Sister Mary Alice has two suggestions for anyone considering a religious vocation today. “First, stop and be quiet. Listen to what’s happening within you so that you’ll gradually come to know where God is calling you. And second, if you feel God may be calling you to be a Sister, try to spend time with some Sisters to have a better sense of what the life of a Sister is like. In the meantime, for you who read this, I will pray to our foundress Saint Angela Merici to help you know to what God is calling you.”