The Santiago Project


The Santiago Project

Pilgrims arriving at the new Oficina de Peregrinos

This year, as last year,

the rscj in
Santiago de Compostela

collaborated with
the local Church
in Santiago,
offering support to the Pilgrims
as they arrive into
the Pilgrim's Office
('Oficina de Peregrinos') in Santiago.             


Pilgrim arrriving at the old Pilgrim's Office




Work in the Pilgrim's Office is about
supporting people from
so many different countries,
as they arrive into Santiago
to the tomb of the apostle James....
and try to make sense of their experience
and their search.




Waiting for the Pilgrim's Mass in the Cathedral





The wealth of the Church’s liturgy
can mean so much and offer so much,
yet that can be lost
through the experience of suddenly
entering a busy University town after days,
possibly weeks, of walking the solitary Camino.
There often is an experience of disorientation involved,
as one arrives and moves into that
experience of re-orientation to 'ordinary life.'



The Camino - photo Amanda Schaffer


The Pilgrim’s reflection and sharing, which we organise each evening offers
some of the atmosphere of the Camino, in its pace and possibility of meeting with companions,
one has travelled with on the way.
The sharing is always rich and powerful and enabled through scripture texts,
which make so much more sense,
having connected into a deeper sense of one’s life and
one’s search on the Camino.

Rscj community sharing reflection time with Pilgrims

The Santiago Project was initiated by
Fátima Santaló-Os​sorio rscj and Ma.Carmen Diaz rscj (Mamen).

Fátima Santólo-Ossorio rscj
Ma. Carmen Diaz rscj (Mamen)

They invited rscj, colleagues or friends
from anywhere in Europe
to join with them.

Last year, as this year
Anne O’Donnell,

an rscj colleague, teaching in
Mount Anville Junior School and
Eileen Lawless rscj
collaborated with rscj from Spain.



Along with welcoming the Pilgrims and supporting and enabling them in their reflection
and integration of their experience,
the project involves forming community together in the house at Virgen da Cerca,5,
helping with the meals and sharing together, supporting each other in the challenges of each day.

amparo__pili elizabeth__menchu1
Amparo rscj (Cuba) & Pilar rscj (Galicia)

Elizabeth rscj (Congo) & Menchu rscj (Spain)

 Celbrating on an evening out together Eileen rscj, Mamen rscj & Amparo rscj

Last year the project lasted for the month of July, with three shifts of 10 days.
Menchu Hornedo rscj, Pilar Harguindey rscj, Amparo
Fernández-Vega rscj and Eileen rscj served on the same shift and
the community present collaborated with us,
Fátima, Mamen and Elizabeth Ngemba rscj

Pilar & Fátima at work in the kitchen
amparo_in_old_office eileen_in_the_old_office
Amparo at work in old Office Eileen at work in the old Office

The project had to be confined to one shift
 this year
 as the Spanish rscj were involved in organising
World Youth Day in Madrid
With the help of Anne O’Donnell and Eileen Lawless rscj from Ireland and
Amparo Fernández-Vega
rscj(Cuba) but, presently in Southern Spain
and Ma. Carmen Diaz (Mamen), we were able to maintain the project.

Anne O'Donnell, Amparo, Eileen & Pedro

Anne arrived having walked
8 days of the Camino,
which meant that all of us, at some stage,
had had experience of the Camino.
We quickly organised ourselves into
a vibrant
community in mission,
as a t
eam at the service of the pilgrims.
We decided also to pray together
to open and close the project and  
to offer to organise the prayer
each evening for the pilgrims,
rather than just the Tuesday and Friday,
as we had done the year before.
Marta García de Leániz from the rscj community
did a supermarket shop for us, to set us on our feet,
before leaving for her retreat.

We were joined at times in community by Pedro,
a colleague of Mamen in the Dept. of Biomedics,
in the University and other friends.

Mamen & Balbina in the kitchen




Balbina Sanmartín was an invaluable contributor
to our venture,
actively engaging in building
a community of welcoming and support with us,
while working wonders in the kitchen.