The time was 4:15 a.m. The place was Holy Family Birthing Center in Weslaco, Texas.
Jason was no ordinary newborn. He had survived a journey hundreds of miles long from Guatemala to our shelter in San Benito, Texas – inside his mother’s womb.
Although many say every birth is a miracle, this story of Jason and his mother is especially miraculous to all of us at La Posada Providencia.
It is a miracle born out of extreme poverty and desperation. It has moved us so much.
Alba arrived at La Posada on May 11 having carried her baby for eight months. She had left behind her home country, two other sons, her husband and her extended family as she fled extreme poverty back home. We cannot fathom how desperate she and her family must have felt. They believed their only hope for survival rested upon Alba’s ability to reach the United States. Carrying the little money her family was able to raise, she began her long journey hoping to arrive in the U.S., find work, and send money to support her family back home.
She arrived in McAllen the first week of May this year and was welcomed at the Humanitarian Respite Center at Sacred Heart Church.
While in McAllen, Alba met a man – Kevin Carges – who was shocked and moved by her story.
Kevin, a deacon with the Catholic Diocese of Rochester, New York, was visiting in Texas while attending a conference. Alba’s story describing her perilous journey through several countries and the U.S.-Mexico border left a deep and lasting impression on him. It was unimaginable that she could make such a journey, alone and while pregnant.
“It was a story that was hard for me to fathom,” Deacon Carges told La Posada. “She was fleeing poverty. Her family was starving to death. This was the last recourse for her.
“The courage that it takes to do that – as an American that’s something many could never imagine. The incredible fortitude it took to be willing to sacrifice everything to have a better life and survive was inspiring.”
When Deacon Carges returned to his home in New York, he lost contact with Alba. After a few phone calls, he said he was relieved to find out Alba had been referred to La Posada Providencia.
“I was in McAllen for two days and I talked to her at length,” Deacon Carges explained. “When I returned home, not knowing if she had some place to go crushed me. I just had to know what was going to happen to her.”
Fortunately, Alba had found a safe place for herself and her soon-to-be-born son at La Posada.
At our shelter, Alba has received food, a place to sleep, help with her immigration process and the health services necessary for her pregnancy.
Hundreds of men, women and families with stories like Alba’s arrive at our shelter each year. Some are fleeing extreme poverty and famine, and others flee to escape dangerous gang violence or political persecution.
In our most recent fiscal year, we served 378 clients, 10 of whom were expecting mothers. Our goal is to ensure our clients are treated with dignity and have the resources necessary to go through the U.S. immigration process.
“I couldn’t believe I was in the U.S. and that I had a safe place, shelter and food,” Alba said. “I was grateful my baby and me were safe. I owe it all to the support of the Sisters and La Posada.”
Deacon Carges said the mission of La Posada resonated deeply with his religious convictions.
“Our mission as Christians, as a church, is to love each other as brothers and sisters,” he said.
“La Posada is an extension of my love to Alba and her baby. If it wasn’t for La Posada, I don’t know what would have happened to her. I am so thankful that this person who touched my heart, and whom I couldn’t help with her situation, found you.”
Our mission of loving and welcoming the stranger is only possible thanks to the generous support of donors like you. I know that you care about people in need, and I know you want to help when you can. I suspect you want to make sure your money is used efficiently and productively – and where the need is greatest. The need is great here, and I can attest that any amount you can send in response to this annual appeal will go toward meeting the needs of clients like Alba and her newborn.
You are part of Alba and Jason’s miracle. Thank you for making God’s love and Providence visible in this world.
Sister Zita Telkamp, CDP