Passion for justice, love for neighbor and deep faith fuel the work at Providence in the Desert in southern California. Sister Carol Nolan (formerly Sister Mary Sheila) founded the ministry 13 years ago at age 69. The dynamic educator went to live among some of the poorest residents of the United States, immigrant laborers in the Coachella Valley. She asked what they needed and then made it happen. Today Sister Carol and Sister Loretta Picucci and a small staff bring classes in the English language to people who need the help.
Sister Carol has many duties as director of Providence in the Desert, from organizing to fundraising. Here she fills in teaching a class for a teacher with an ill family member.
The students live in remote rural areas. The sisters, like Sister Carol here, travel to their students.
The sisters join the people they serve at Mass in a local community center used to house Sunday services for the growing immigrant population in the area.
Sister Loretta (formerly Sister Loretta Joseph) checks in on a former student at her trailer home.
Adult students often bring children with them to class, like this little photo bomber in Sister Loretta’s class at Sunbird Trailer park in Thermal.
Who says learning English has to be a chore? Fun personalities keep teacher Sister Lorretta Picucci, left, on her toes in this more advanced class.
These hands have spent many hours laboring. Now they pick up a school book to learn a new language.
After long hours in the hot California sun harvesting crops, students come to learn the English language.