SAN BENITO — Bertshabe Palomino Montalvo is a Sister of Divine Providence.
Originally from Perú, she’s been living in the United States as a member of her religious community for seven years. This summer she will be volunteering her time at La Posada Providencia.
La Posada, founded and sponsored by the Sisters of Divine Providence, is a ministry for people in crisis from around the world, who are seeking legal refuge in this country. The shelter staff provides a safe and welcoming home, mentors to promote self sufficiency and cultural integration, and imparts values “which witness God’s Providence in our world.”
All of the shelter’s clients are referred to them by the U.S. Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement or local immigration attorneys. They are in the legal process of seeking asylum, residency or some other legal alternative.
While they wait for their cases to advance through the court system, most of these individuals have no place to go and arrive at La Posada’s doorstep with nothing. Staff members and volunteers like Montalvo ensure they receive the necessary legal aid, health care, social services and other relocation assistance.
The Valley Morning Star asks …
Why did you come back to La Posada?
Six years ago I had an unforgettable experience as a volunteer for three months at La Posada. Because of that experience, I decided to come back. However, this time I plan to volunteer for longer than three months.
Not only did I want to come back because my past visit was so impressionable, but also I want to help the Sisters in my community continue to do the work of “Welcoming the Stranger.”
I also really enjoy talking and sharing with the guests at La Posada, helping to provide them with moral support, which I consider they need while transitioning to a new culture.
Tell readers about the clients at La Posada.
The clients are people from different cultures who come to this country mostly fleeing from difficult situations in their homelands. They arrive at La Posada with no material things; instead they bring other riches.
I learn every day from them, specifically about different ways of being courageous and taking risks, which has helped me in my personal life and professional career.
What do you look forward to?
I am excited to be working with the clients again. I am enjoying tutoring the clients in the ESL (English as a Second Language) program and I look forward to what my time here at La Posada will bring.