Considering Serving as an Hospitalero?

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Considering Serving as an Hospitalero? 

by Emilio Escudero | Berkeley, CA

If you are considering serving as an hospitalero, then you have most likely experienced the transformative power of the Camino and are now wanting to give back. Like many of us who have served as hospitaleros, you probably learned some of the lessons of the Camino and now want to help pilgrims to deepen their self-awareness and compassion, accept the inevitable, let go of those things that cannot be changed or controlled, and help others to heal and to embrace life. Does any of this ring true for you? 

Emilio-Escudero grañon Spain, making dinner.
Hospitaleros prepare the evening meal at the donativo albergue in Grañón, Spain, May 2011. Photo by Emilio Escudero.

When you walked the Camino, you met many hospitaleros and probably treasure the endearing memories you hold for some of those kind souls. They welcomed you when you arrived exhausted at an albergue—providing a safe and secure place for you to rest and encouraging you along your way to Santiago. Their vocation was to support and nurture pilgrims on their journey and to personally embody the spirit of the Camino so that the pilgrim experience is all that it can be for each person passing through their albergue door.

Would you like to do this work? Having gone through the training and volunteered several times myself, I highly recommend the experience. I also recommend that you prepare yourself. Training is important because, while the rewards of being an hospitalero are many and wonderful, the two-week work assignments can be challenging. 

American Pilgrims on the Camino trains hospitaleros as part of its mission to support the enduring traditions of the Camino. The training is designed to help you apply your experience, energy, and natural gifts in the service of pilgrims walking the Camino. The three-day training takes place several times a year in locations across the United States and focuses on the practical aspects of managing an albergue, the physical and spiritual needs of pilgrims, and also self-care.

Hospitalero Peter Millington, far left, shares an evening meal with pilgrims at Albergue de Peregrino de Zamora,
Hospitalero Peter Millington, far left, shares an evening meal with pilgrims at Albergue de Peregrino de Zamora, October 2018. Photo by Emilio Escudero.

Would you like to sign up to learn what it takes to do this exceptional and enormously satisfying work? I hope you do. It is my good fortune to be the newest member of the hospitalero training team, and I comfortably speak for the team in saying we look forward to meeting you.

¡Ánimo peregrino, y hasta pronto!

Learn more about hospitalero eligibility requirements and upcoming training opportunities on our Hospitalero Training page.

This story was featured in our Winter 2024 issue of La Concha. The theme was “The Artist’s Way”, and you can find the full issue in our archive here.

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