SISTER DUANE MOES, OSB
From a very early age Sister Duane felt the calling to be a sister, a teacher and to share her faith.
Since the second grade, Sister Duane Moes knew she wanted to become a Sister. She had been taught by the Sisters of Notre Dame throughout grade school, but it was her first and second grade teacher, Sister Tarcisius, who had the earliest influence. By the time she was to attend high school, she decided to go to Good Counsel Academy in Mankato, where she became an aspirant in the order of Notre Dame. After two years she met a Benedictine Sister who was a musician and a huge inspiration for Sister Duane. It was then that she decided to transfer to St. Joseph’s Academy to finish her high school.
Sister Duane’s early wish to become a religious was gladly accepted by her family. Her mother remarked, “If this is what God wants for my daughter, then it is good.” Despite moving away from home in New Trier, Sister Duane still remained close to her mother, father and three brothers. She feels blessed to have been born into her wonderful and loving family, and equally blessed to have experienced the farm’s baby animals, open fields sunrises and sunsets, stars and the aurora borealis.
The most memorable and happy time of her life was when she entered the novitiate in 1942. In 1943, at the age of 21 she made her first vows. Within her first year, when lay teenagers would be in their first year of college, Sister Duane was already teaching.
Since she was in grade school she had already been helping her teachers in her classroom, and as a result of her extraordinary Catholic education she felt prepared to take on this new position with grace. After this first year of teaching she attended the College of St. Benedict for her teaching degree. Throughout her career she taught Gregorian chant, math and art at St. Bernard’s and Maternity of Mary in St. Paul and St. Mary’s in Breckenridge. Summers were spent teaching summer school in parishes that did not have a Catholic school, or continuing her education. She is still impressed by the altar boys, whom she taught at St. Bernard’s, who memorized all those Latin prayers and folded their hands.
Sister Duane is nostalgic about the past. She remembers her family and the community having large celebrations for her First Vows, Final Vows, and 25th and 50th anniversaries. She has an immense love for her family. She has a remarkable calm about her (which she says runs in her family), and she has accepted the changes in her life with a knowledge of God’s greater purpose. However, she still misses the good old days of the rigid monastic schedule, routines and silent times after evening praise (the Great Silence). Sister Duane recalls that before TV’s and computer they used to call the Mother House for permission to listen to a radio broadcast. She even misses wearing the habit.