Faye Wendland

Retiring from a 42-year career as a Nurse.

Faye Wendland has many mantras. One is “uncomfortable is a growth opportunity,” a concept she is leaning into these days. Wendland is retiring from a 42-year career as an RN with Mayo Clinic and deciding how to use her time and talents. 


Rochester Women magazine received a nomination from Wendland’s co-worker Heidi Seaberg, who says, “Faye is an exceptional woman. She has been instrumental in starting many groups and programs in our community that support people living with mental health disorders. She has volunteered thousands of hours over the years, sharing her gifts freely and happily.” 

Wendland has a strong faith that for a long time gave her a “sense that if you’re spiritually together, you shouldn’t have mental illness.” Yet she saw family and friends suffering, and so she felt called to find meaningful ways to help them. 


Wendland started Journey of Hope, a group for family and loved ones of those suffering from mental illness. She also started Compassion Counseling Center, which offers free counseling to those who need it. Her newest project is a faith-based support group for those living with mental health disorders. Her work mentoring families and individuals has given her “riches.” 

She says, “Out of your mess comes your message,” as she helps people address their hurts and overcome them. The concept of restoration has been an important one in her life. “Emotions buried never die,” she says, and she values relationships where truth is told freely.


“Her amazing gifts extend into her work realm as well,” writes Seaberg. “She has been the key player in launching many nurse-based programs in her career and is the biggest advocate for nursing as a profession. She has blessed numerous patients over the years by her care and compassion. Faye has served as mentor and encourager to her fellow nurses, and we are sincerely grateful and honored to call her friend.”

At Mayo Clinic, Wendland started a triage center and worked as a case manager for recovering addicts. She developed a program for those with depression, helping to write a workbook for Mayo Clinic using real life stories of patients. She was a wellness coach back before it was all the rage, focusing on the idea of taking care of the whole person.


Exercise is a big part of Wendland’s life. She has been running with her husband since 1979, an activity that has helped keep their relationship strong. When she began running she was overweight, and her goal each day was to run the same or a little bit more than the day before. She now uses her running time to “sort things out” and pray.

She says, “I try to do something new every year.” She sets “personal health goals such as “riding my age in miles on a bicycle on my birthday, running in two races yearly and completing five triathlons by age 60. I am hoping to still be running when I am 70.” 


As she transitions away from a busy work life, she is saying “no” as she sorts through her options. She is “sleeping in” until 6 or 6:30 a.m. these days. She anticipates traveling to California and New York to spend time with her daughters and her two new granddaughters. She says, “I just want to live well and have a purpose.”

As someone who didn’t feel beautiful for a long time because of her weight, Wendland realizes that “beauty is so much more” than what we see. She says, “There’s always something to be grateful for.” She also understands the power of the mind: “What you think is how you feel.”

Rochester Women magazine congratulates Faye Wendland on her retirement. We encourage our readers (you) to nominate yourself or someone else who deserves to
feel beautiful.

Emily Watkins is a writer and editor.