I was born Melinda Welter in Stayton, Oregon. I was the first of six children of Arlene and Robert Welter. Six months later my parents left for California where my father followed available jobs as a sheet metal worker, and my brothers Joseph, Jeff, John, and Jerry, and one sister Lisa were born. In 1968 we returned to Beaverton, Oregon where I went to St. Cecilia Catholic School and St. Mary of the Valley. I married Lonnie Shellenbarger (now deceased) in 1982, and had one daughter Lindsay Shellenbarger, now Fitzgerald who lives in Orlando, Florida.
As a young adult, I had left my Catholic Faith, but in 1987 the Lord in His mercy brought me back, and I joined the St. Philip Benizi parish family. I worked as a freelance illustrator for 21 years along with operating a Catholic Bookstore “Heaven’s Treasures” in Oregon City.
I discovered SOLT through Fr. Santan Pinto, SOLT, in 1993. Fr. Pinto was teaching a formation program to develop the laity in the Church called Disciples of Jesus and Mary (DJM). I served in that program for 17 years. During this time the Lord kept calling my heart to want to serve Him more completely, so as my daughter graduated from college, I entered formation as a sister in North Dakota in August of 2008. After making First Vows in 2013 in Corpus Christ with 7 other sisters, I served two assignments there, first in the Development Office and then as manager of Our Lady of Corpus Christi Bookstore. Since November 2016 I have been assigned to our SOLT Parish, Divine Mercy, in Belize City, Belize Central America. I am enjoying pastoral and evangelization work here with the SOLT Team, parishioners, and the poor. Words cannot express my gratitude to the Lord to have called me to serve Him as His spouse and I pray to give Him my Fiat! every remaining day.