Transferring the light: June 28 Ceremony at St. Mary’s in Silver City, N.M.

June 28, 2014 by


SILVER CITY, N.M. — Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia joined with members of the Anglican Church of the Holy Trinity Saturday afternoon, June 28, in a ceremony to “celebrate the light and life” of the historic St. Mary’s on Alabama Street.

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About 80 people attended the service in what is now Holy Trinity Church. In addition to eight Sisters of St. Joseph, there were former sisters, people who had attended St. Mary’s Academy, and some who had taken part in retreats at the Spirituality Center or had other connections to the sisters. There were also about a dozen members of Holy Trinity, as well as their rector, Father Henry Hoffman.

Sister Jean Rosemarynoski, vice president of the Concordia congregation, led the first part the ceremony, in which she recounted the history of Sisters of St. Joseph in Silver City from 1918 to the present. As she spoke, candles were lit to represent the “light” that St. Mary’s had brought to the people of the Silver City area through its ministries.

Today, she said, “The Holy Spirit seemed to be saying that the Sisters of St. Joseph have been good stewards of this property for many decades and it is now time to pass it on. However, it was important that the holiness f its history and the sacredness of its impact on people be respected.

“The Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia were pleased when the Anglican Church of the Holy Trinity purchased the property … with plans to continue to be a beacon of light and a place for spiritual renewal and growth.”

With that, the sisters transferred the “light” — both figuratively and literally, in the form of the candles — to Father Henry and his congregation.

In his homily, Father Henry promised to carry on the traditions the sisters had established at St. Mary’s, including keeping the chapel open during daytime hours for anyone to visit.

“We will follow your example, to welcome anyone who comes through those red doors,” he said.

He also recognized the two Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia who continue to live and serve in Silver City:

Sister Rosemary Farrell

Sister Rosemary Farrell

• Sister Rosemary Farrell continues to work as director of counseling and a play therapist for El Refugio, and also serves as the choir director at St. Francis Church Newman Center. Earlier this year, Sister Rosemary was inducted into the Martin Luther King Jr. Hall of Fame, sponsored by Western New Mexico University and Grant County Community Agencies and Organizations. She has lived in Silver City for more than 25 years.

Sister Rita Plante

Sister Rita Plante

• Sister Rita Plante continues to serve as a volunteer chaplain at Gila Regional Medical Center. She takes part in a weekly Peace Vigil and is an informal “downtown walking ministry” with her dog, Alex. She has lived in Silver City for 13 years.

Sisters Rita and Rosemary also both work with CSJ Associates in the Silver City area.

After the service, those attending who welcomed to a potluck supper organized by the Anglican Church members. They were also able to view a slide presentation Sister Rosemary had created to recount the history of St. Mary’s.

The 3.7-acre property purchased by the Anglicans includes St. Mary’s Spirituality Center, the Mission-style Joseph House and Marion Hall, all of which had been for sale for several years.

Holy Trinity, which was founded in 2008, had been holding its Sunday services in the St. Mary’s Chapel since May 2013. To learn more about the church and its plans for the St. Mary’s property, go to



2 Responses to “Transferring the light: June 28 Ceremony at St. Mary’s in Silver City, N.M.”

  1. Charla Cross on June 30th, 2014 9:19 pm

    Thank you for the wonderful story and pictures of the Silver City event. Getting this on the web site so quickly is truly remarkable and made me feel like I was there. I could “be there” from the comfort of my air conditioned home. The ceremony and dinner were a celebration of all that you’ve been to that area and with sisters still there, continue to be and serve God in so many ways. Bless you all for all that you have been and are.

  2. Missy Ljungdahl on June 29th, 2014 8:33 am

    These are great! Sarah, thanks a million for doing this. The Silver City event has been on my mind all weekend. It looks like it was well planned, attended, and very moving.

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