Silver City, N.M.
As a play therapist in New Mexico, Sister Rosemary Farrell sees the worst of what most people can only imagine and hope never to see. She ministers to young children who have been severely abused or who have been traumatized by witnessing domestic violence. She works directly with the children but also works with the parents (or foster parents or adoptive parents), the justice system, the schools, and many other agencies involved in the life of the child. She works with children as young as newborn infants or those through age 12.
Sister Rosemary deals with crisis and trauma on a daily basis. Her schedule is always full. Yet, she says, it is the children’s spirits that keep her going. “I leave work marveling at the children’s creativity and their own work at the healing process. Kids have such wonderful inner power for healing and creativity. I provide all the toys, sand, music, clay and so on. There are lots of those kinds of things for the imagination to help heal the external senses. They heal both from the outside in and the inside out so there is total healing. For me, it is an honor to walk with them through this whole process as they walk through their pain. They are so courageous. They are willing to go back to the pain and walk through that pain to healing. They have made the play therapy room a sacred place by their deep sharing. It is a privilege to be trusted by these little ones. It is such a wonder to see their progress! It gives me lots of hope and a real feeling of ‘Yes, these little kids know how to do it and they are doing it!’ That in itself helps me take care of myself. It is a gift to me.”
She finds plenty of creative ways to balance the intensity of her ministry with her own needs. “I love hiking and being in the mountains. The mountains surrounding Silver City are gorgeous! I enjoy being around people so I belong to our local Sisters of St. Joseph Associate group and a faith sharing group called Emmaus. There is tremendous support in both of those groups. My own community life is a wonderful support.” She is active in her parish, the St. Francis Newman Center, playing guitar and being part of the choir.