Diocese of Brownsville, Texas
A Community of Christian Love and Hope
Guests at the emergency shelter La Posada Providencia in San Benito, Texas have endured untold hardships. La Posada was built as an emergency shelter for men, women and families fleeing from political oppression, natural disasters, and poverty and are seeking asylum in the United States. And all of them have been blessed by Sister Zita Telkamp’s guidance and mercy. “Welcoming the stranger is a Gospel value that is practiced daily at this haven for those without a home,” said Rev. Daniel E. Flores, Bishop of Brownsville. “I am most grateful to the Congregation of Divine Providence and Sister Zita for their commitment to the poor.”
Sister Zita began her tenure as interim director of La Posada in 2008 and was brought on as permanent director the following year. Under her direction, the shelter, which operates 24 hours a day and 365 days a year, has dramatically expanded its capacity to serve clients. Sister Zita has been instrumental in bringing both stability and growth to the program. She has overseen the building and expansion of the grounds along with the expansion of an ecologically friendly (and financially sound) garden and citrus grove. She has hired four new staff members and instituted a new internship program through a partnership with the University of Texas—Pan American’s School of Social work, which allows La Posada to host five Master of Social Work interns.
Under Sister Zita’s leadership, both the number of volunteers and the funds raised for La Posada has increased dramatically. Last year, La Posada hosted nearly 350 university student volunteers from around the country in addition to over 100 volunteers from the Rio Grande Valley. And this year’s fundraiser brought in $35,000—ten times the average raised in years prior.