For February, we are featuring our Communications and Marketing Coordinator, Melinda Markell, who newly joined our Mission Advancement team in November 2022. When looking for a new position, Melinda was hoping to find a career in the religious field where she could dedicate her skills towards a higher purpose. She feels that she has found that here at St. Paul’s Monastery, where she describes the Monastery life as dedicated, beautiful, and prayerful. So far, she finds the Sisters and staff to all be very kind people, and she believes it won’t be long before she has gained a family here. Her proudest moment thus far includes increasing the number of “friends” and likes on Instagram for St. Paul’s Monastery, also partially in thanks to Sister Jacqueline Leiter, OSB’s photography!
Melinda grew up in the West 7th area near downtown Saint Paul with her mother (Homemaker), father (Mechanic), and two siblings: an older sister who currently resides in Arizona and a younger brother who is still local to the Twin Cities. Melinda’s grandfather and his sons, including her father, owned Markell’s North Star Service Station on West 7th where it operated for 60+ years before her dad retired. Currently, Melinda still lives in her childhood home in the same West 7th neighborhood with her mother and brother. They recently lost their 14-year-old cat to cancer and their house was empty for one whole month before they started exploring adopting a new cat. They now have Nefertiti, a 3-year-old, tortoise shell, adopted from Feline Rescue in St. Paul.
Melinda obtained her high school diploma from the Perpich Center for Arts Education (Minnesota Center for Arts Education at the time), where she studied Literary Arts. This school had an alternative method of learning that did not include a grading system, so she tested out several colleges before finding one that fit. She spent a year at the College of St. Catherine University in the Twin Cities, one semester at Emerson Communications College located in Boston, MA, and then finally landed in Vermont where she graduated from Goddard College. Later, she received her Master’s from the University of Minnesota with an Interdisciplinary Major to learn about Nonprofit Management and focus on Indonesian Shadow Puppetry. This has been her interest since she was 13 years old when Melinda fell in love with the island of Bali in Indonesia. She has now traveled once to the island of Bali and once to the island of Java and continues to spend time learning about the culture, specifically dance, shadow puppetry, religion, and language. Someday, Melinda hopes to start a “side hustle” to teach people all that she knows and has learned. Melinda is also an artist and a writer, regularly publishing content on her blog and website, msmarkell.com.
Some of Melinda’s other interests include travel. Besides her travel to Indonesia, Melinda has visited Greece and Turkey as part of a cruise trip where she got to see Ephesus, the house of the Virgin Mary, and St. John’s Monastery, in addition to important sites like the Parthenon. Her favorite book is Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte and movie is Wings of Desire by Wim Wenders. Melinda also enjoys hiking in the woods, and that is where she is the happiest.
Thank you, Melinda, for joining our team here at St. Paul’s Monastery, and we look forward to seeing more of your talents and expertise come to life through marketing and communications! We will end this article with Melinda’s favorite quote from Walt Whitman: “Do I contradict myself? Very well then I contradict myself, (I am large, I contain multitudes.)”