Providence Center, Philadelphia, PA

For more than 125 years, the Sisters of the Holy Child served St. Edward Parish in the Fairhill/West Kensington section of Philadelphia.

Sadly, however, the parish was closed in 1993. The Sisters feared that the parish closing would contribute to the poverty-related ills of the neighborhood. As a result, Sister Nancy Hagenbach, SHCJ and Sister Peggy Doherty, SHCJ founded Providence Center in the fall of 1993.

Located in this same section of Philadelphia as St. Edward’s Parish was, Providence Center continues to serve the community by providing afterschool homework help, summer programs, English as a Second Language Classes, family retreats, and a women’s prayer group and retreats.


Arriving from the Dominican Republic in 2005 with her husband and two small children, Duahajri spoke no English. In search of a better life and employment, the family eventually settled in Philadelphia where her husband now works construction and the children are enrolled in a parish school. Duahajri was intent on mastering English and acquiring marketable skills, which would allow her to find a job.

Her dream took flight when she was directed to Providence Center in Philadelphia. She tested into an upper level English class and continues to improve her language skills. She also enrolled in a computer literacy class where students learn about various computer programs as they practice their English in typing class. Dauhajri is confident that her newly acquired skills will be valuable in her job search. The family looks forward to purchasing a house and supporting relatives in their homeland.