The task of the hospitalero is, as the name suggests, to show hospitality. The history of the word is long. In medieval times monks and nuns showed kindness to travellers and others in need of care and accommodation. These institutions, in time, became hospitals.
When it is our turn to do the task of being a hospitalero, we need to register the person – state laws makes this more onerous than in the past, help them cool off their feet if they desire, help them to their bed/bunk and feed them if that is what they want.
We have already cleaned the rooms and bathrooms before they arrive.
Every night sees a new group of travellers. At this time of year the albergue is about three quarters full, when it cools down the numbers increase and then taper off towards the end of October. The buzz is always great as pilgrims greet and get to know each other. Even in their tiredness there is a joy in sharing stories.
After the evening meal at 8:30 there is a Jesus meditation time led by one of the team to assist people to reflect on their journey and to gently point them to Jesus – as the title indicates.
By 10pm most pilgrims are in the land of nod or close to it. We check necessities like toilet paper and then close the albergue to the outside world. Through the wall in our little room room we can usually hear a symphony, a symphony or snores.