2019 Jubilarian – Faye (Marie Denise) McFarlane
During high school, Sister Faye McFarlane volunteered at the St. Vincent and Sarah Fisher Center, which was founded and operated by the Daughters of Charity. She initially wanted to join the Daughters of Charity because she wanted to work in orphanages.
She was taught by the IHM Sisters and recognized their compassion as being similar to her mother’s, which immediately comforted her. She uses skills she learned from her mother, such as punctuality and taking responsibilities seriously.
When Sister Faye first joined the IHM community, she was concerned that she wouldn’t do well as a teacher. She found that she enjoyed teaching her students about nature and had gerbils and frogs in her classroom. “I find God in nature,” she notes.
She has spent her ministerial life in Michigan. She taught in Carleton, Riverview, River Rouge and Detroit. During the summer of the Rebellion, she worked in the hospitals and jails. Sister Faye taught first grade at St. Gregory for two years and then taught kindergarten and first grade at St. Cecilia for 20 years. While working on her master’s degree at Wayne State University, she started a summer camp, taking the neighborhood children out to the country. “We even camped out,” she says. “This was so good for them and it was so good for me.”
During other summers, Sister Faye studied on Hog Island off the Maine coast. She also received a science grant to study on Beaver Island on Lake Michigan. Most of her summers were spent working in the outdoors. “The things that I love aren’t necessarily in the city except for the kids,” she chuckles.
Sister Faye returned home to care for her ailing mother. During those 17 years, she also taught at St. Edward in Lakeport. She has always enjoyed watching the children she taught grow up. At times not being a mother was difficult for Sister Faye, but then she thinks about all the children she taught, and especially those who have come back and told her about their lives, and she is grateful for her life. ”It’s a real gift. Everyone you have contact with is your kingdom. They are part of you,” she reflects.
Currently, Sister Faye ministers as St. Edward School librarian. She supports STEM education for both girls and boys and encourages students to explore their options based on their interests as well as the job market. Diversity is important to her.
Sister Faye’s greatest joy has been the freedom to be herself. “There has never been pressure on me to conform,” she says. She rejoices and takes pride in the IHM Sisters “who soar.” She is grateful for the life the community has offered her and the wisdom it has shared. “I see how much I’ve grown and the life they brought to me.”