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Sisters of Providence presence expanding at the border

Sister Tracey Horan with the keys to the Sisters of Providence new home in Arizona.

“Providence, incarnate in creation, moves it forward and invites humankind to share consciously in Divine creativity, to conceive new possibilities, to perceive wholeness in brokenness and design in chaos.” (Providence Identity Lens 2006)

In 2019 Sister Tracey Horan, SP, traveled to Nogales, Arizona, to begin a ministry well suited to her talents and passion for justice. The Kino Border Initiative (KBI) was set up with one foot on the Nogales, Arizona, side of the border and the other foot on the Nogales, Sonora, Mexico side. KBI fosters “bi-national solidarity through humanitarian assistance, education and research/advocacy.” In short, Sister Tracey’s ministry with KBI allows her to “perceive wholeness in brokenness and design in chaos.”

Needing support

The Arizona Providence Community. From left, Sisters Nancy Bartasavich, Marilú
Covani and Tracey Horan prepare a dinner together in the new house.
The house (Casa Teodora) where the new Sisters of Providence community is living in Rio Rico, Arizona.

Although Tracey’s enthusiasm for her ministry never waned, “the distance and separation from community and family had been hard. I knew I would need support from my sisters … so I extended an invitation to join me here in Nogales.” Sisters Marilú Covani, SP, and Nancy Bartasavich, SP, accepted that invitation.

Sister Marilú, recently retired from years of parish and diocesan ministry, was experiencing “a certain emptiness and anxiety. I was wondering where God might want me to go next. When Tracey called with the invitation to join her in Nogales, it just felt right. My only hesitation was that I was too old! My participation may be minimal, yet all of us are called to co-create God’s kindom wherever we are.”

Sister Marilú in her ministry helping with Proyecto
de Vida, or the Livelihood Project, to connect migrants with opportunities for work in Nogales, Mexico.

Ministry of presence

Sister Nancy? What moved her to accept Tracey’s invitation? Sister Nancy sees the ministry at Nogales as a “ministry of presence. A new day is created, by the grace of God, in each smile, or tear or story that is shared. Tracey’s invitation to join her at the border came when I was being nudged by Providence to respond in some loving and concrete way to injustice in our world. Tracey’s invitation was God’s way of guiding me here.”

Three Sisters of Providence. Each responding to the Divine invitation to “conceive new possibilities.” Three Sisters of Providence. Together in community creating a new day.

Originally published in the winter 2023 issue of HOPE

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Sister Denise Wilkinson

Sister Denise Wilkinson

Sister Denise was the general superior of the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods from 2006-2016. She previously served as a high school teacher, college administrator, postulant/novice director and director of advancement and communications for the Congregation. Currently, Sister Denise serves the Congregation in various volunteer positions.

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