Honoring the healing quality of animals is one of hundreds of ways in which Medical Mission Sisters and our Associates around the world try to be a healing presence to others today.
Medical Mission Sister Associate Bonnie Buongiorne is the founder of Ray of Light Farm in East Haddam, Connecticut, that serves as an animal assisted therapy center and large animal rescue farm. The non-profit charity, begun in 2000, sits on 40 acres and, with the help of many volunteers, helps people “make a positive connection with life through the healing presence of animals.”
“We aspire to be a ‘healing presence in a wounded world.’ Every day we hear about violence, crimes of the heart and crimes of conscience. But we still search for something good, something true. Our greatest accomplishment has been bringing people and animals together, offering something good and true — for our clients and the community at large,” their website explains.
The staff at Ray of Light Farm coordinates animal-assisted therapy, pairing humans and horses in ways that improve the physical and emotional well-being of both. They also rescue and care for neglected, abused and abandoned large animals, and facilitate their placement and adoption.
Along with riding instruction for youth, adults, and specially-abled people, at Ray of Light Farm the staff concentrates on promoting a genuine understanding of animals and how to care for them. In the Basics in Training program, held weekly for 8 weeks, students are given the opportunity to gain hands-on experience, with individualized attention and time. The program uses positive reinforcement and communication in the language of the horse to build the foundations necessary for both human and equine to advance to other pursuits.
In addition to horses and ponies, the farm is now home to an alpaca, goats, pigs, rabbits, chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys, guinea pigs, guinea fowl, peacocks, miniature cows, miniature donkeys, mini horses, mules, and several heritage breeds of animals. These are traditional breeds, raised for food in the past, that have unique genetic traits.
For more information, please visit: www.rayoflightfarm.org.
March 1, 2011