Saturday, September 19, 2015


Justi came to visit us this morning and we asked if he would take Kristine to the supermecado to buy provisions.   We were told that the hospitaleros could have a hot shower at the Hotel Jacobus so she could visit the hotel at the same time, have a shower and ask for more Tau crosses which were sold out at the albergue  We also asked him to try to find candles as we were now using the smaller candles in red plastic containers for the tables.

One of the pilgrims asked if he could stay awhile and help me clean so I put him to work sweeping the dining room and taking the rubbish to the junk tip around the corner outside the Farmer's house.  I also gave him a bottle of water and some bread to put in the niche under the archway that spans the road.  The French monks used to put wine and bread in the niche for pilgrims who arrived too late to be admitted to the monastery and we hospitaleros have continued the tradition.

We shook out the blankets and sprayed them before putting them into the plastic containers and he helped me pour boiling water on the sheets.  I hadn't seen a bug for three days so hopefully the one's we'd seen were just isolated hitch-hikers, carried in by pilgrims from other albergues.  There certainly weren't any breeding here and we'd only seen adults.

Two bus loads of tourists came to visit this morning - first a Swedish group and then a German group.  They milled about, peering into the dormitory and dining room but I barricaded the door into the bathroom with crossed poles - a mop and a broom - and put a No Entry sign on the door.  They bought a few trinkets from the showcase in the albergue, mostly pins, bells, Tau crosses and post cards - and most left a generous donation. 
The TAU was mentioned in the bible in Ezekiel
9:4 - "Go through the city of Jerusalem and put a TAU on the foreheads of those who grieve and lament over all the detestable things that are done in it."
St. Francis borrowed the TAU  from the Antonians who wore the TAU cross on their habits.  Whenever you see St. Anthony, "the Abbot or Hermit" in art, he is portrayed with the TAU.  The rose window in the ruins was decorated using the Tau crosses.

Kristine and Justi came back with the shopping but no Tau crosses or candles - and Kristine was unable to have a hot shower because the young woman in the reception said that she had to be there before 9am, which is not possible for us. 

At around 5pm a couple of peregrinas asked if they could help with anything. 'You can start setting the table" I said and put them to work.  Kristine showed us her cross face, "Not so early, "she said, "the flies will get on the plates." 
"No problem," I answer with a smile, "we'll cover the table with cloth."  She has said the same thing for three nights and every night I offer the same solution. She huffs and puffs, but I'm not giving in.  Tonight she cooked the meal using the same ingredients that our Italian chef had used.  We had a full house and everyone sang a song, we passed the candle saying thanks to the Camino, and I introduced another ritual at the table, borrowing a practise I first experienced in the albergue in Tosantos.
 There were so many hurting people on the Camino, many who were walking in honour or memory of a relative or friend, or who had personal grief.  A Polish lady told us about her sister who has been fighting bone cancer for 5 years.  Kristine had shared a story with me about her daughter and I decided to ask everyone if they would like to write out a prayer request and place it in a little box.  Tomorrow or the next day, we and the pilgrims spending the night would pray for those people.  We put paper and a pen in the box on the desk so that people could write out their requests tonight or before they leave tomorrow.  We also asked people to take a prayer request to Santiago with them and pray for that person when they got to the cathedral.

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