Sister Michele (Shelly) Farabaugh

I am Sister Michele Farabaugh, also known as Sister Shelly.  I came to the community in 1963 as an aspirant.  Aspirants lived with the Sisters and attended St. Benedict Academy. In 1970, I left the community "for 1 year" prior to making First Monastic Profession because I thought I was jumping into a life choice and I had little experience with other possibilities.  And it was the 1960's! Twenty-five years later I came back to the community after obtaining three college degrees, owning two homes and living in Kentucky for over 15 years but I know that my heart never left the Benedictine Sisters of Pittsburgh.  My older blood sister, Sr. Michelle belongs to this community and so I never lost touch.

Now that I have returned, I know I am where I am meant to be and the journey to this place was God’s way of calling me. Two of us from our original novitiate group are still in the community, and when I am in Monastic Profession for 25 years, Sister Judith Ann will be celebrating 50 years so we will celebrate together.

In my professional work I am a clinical social worker and I love to work with people and their particular life experiences.  Currently, I am the social worker at The Salvation Army’s Family Homeless Shelter in Pittsburgh.  This provides variety and challenge as families try to “get on their feet.” Our effort is to empower residents to do the tasks they need to do to obtain housing, sufficient income and education to maintain their family in permanent affordable housing.

One of my favorite parts of the Rule of Benedict is the first word "Listen" and the last words "we will make it."  Silence and listening are critical to accepting God's word, work and love in our lives. In the second century, St Irenaeus taught that the “Glory of God is a person fully alive.”  This has been an important motto in my life and work as I seek to follow St. Benedict’s Rule.



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