American Pilgrims on the Camino hosts an annual Gathering of Pilgrims. The Gathering is an opportunity to share experiences, to support one another and to learn more about the Camino and pilgrimage experience.
The 2017 Gathering of Pilgrims
Average maximum and minimum temperatures for Hampton, Georgia for March 23rd are 68°F and 42°F.
For its 19th Annual Gathering of Pilgrims (2016), American Pilgrims on the Camino returned to the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows in Belleville, Illinois. The Gathering's theme was "Telling the Way Within". As always there were sessions devoted to the practical side of doing the Camino, sessions on Camino first aid, packing light and general Q&A. Talks ranged from the academic to the practical. Presentation topics included contemporary graffiti on the Camino, the Camino in the Franco era, a fabulous overview of the Santiago legend (including his bones!) and the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage route in Japan and the Sanabrés in Galicia. Thursday evening we were treated to a concert of guitar music by Rene Izquierdo. Twelve soon-to-depart peregrinos received a shell and blessing in the Shell Ceremony. Definitely a highlight of the Gathering was the screening of the documentary Phil's Camino with director Annie O'Neil present to talk about the origins and making of the film. Oh, yes — the orujo tasting and the (frigid) queimada ceremony! As always there was time for personal interactions with other peregrinos, past and future. There were special occasions for chapter coordinators and returned hospitaleros to meet and interact. Saturday evening's Camino Cabaret was an outlet for the varied - to say the least! - talents of our attendees. Who would have guessed!?
There have been requests for transcripts and other material from the Gathering's fabulous speakers. Here is what we have at the moment:
• Keynote Speaker Brian Bouldrey, "Within and Without" (Coming in September 2016 from Dr. Bouldrey: Inspired Journeys: Travel Writers in Search of the Muse, University of Wisconsin Press, firstname.lastname@example.org)
• Margaretha Finefrock's talk The Hero’s Journey as Metaphor for Pilgrimage: What Is Calling You?
• Bill Schmidt’s talk Going Deeper
¡Muchas gracias! to our friends from the Xacobeo organization in Galicia, Spain who have provided generous and continuing support for American Pilgrims Gatherings. Please visit their website (by clicking on their logo). It truly is an outstanding resource for pilgrims. And of course they are the definitive source for information on the Camino routes in Galicia.
Hospitalero training by American Pilgrims is always conducted in conjunction with the annual Gathering but in addition we offer other sessions throughout the year. Check the Hospitaleros page for further information.
Consider giving back to the Camino!. Those who have gone on from walking the Camino to serving as hospitaleros say that this experience often is even more rewarding than the Camino itself. For some insight into the sense of fulfillment, there is an interesting YouTube video about service that has snippets of interviews with the late Don José María of San Juan de Ortega, Don Jesús Jato of the albergue Ave Fenix and the Confraternity's Marion Marples.
For more information, see our Hospitaleros page.
In addition to the training offered by American Pilgrims, weekend courses are offered in Canada several times each year. Our Canadian friends or anyone who cannot make it to training offered by American Pilgrims might consider this alternative. Please see our Local/Regional Events page.