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A mysterious pilgrim on the Way of Saint James

Whether they take the French Way or the Primitive one as they go to Compostela, Pilgrims will eventually arrive in Melide. Its main street, lined with tempting pulpeiras (restaurants specializing in octopus) marks the final stretch to the tomb of the Apostle: Santiago is just 55 kilometers away.

As pilgrims walk by the hermitage of San Roque, they discover they are not on their own: someone is kindly inviting them to take a sit. But this someone does not seem to be entirely human.

Be welcoming Timothy Schmalz

In his noted Letter to the Hebrews, Paul recommends showing hospitality to strangers, since “by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.” The passage is well known. In fact, it inspired the recently inaugurated sculpture that is already becoming a hot selfie spot on the Way of Saint James. But Canadian sculptor Timothy Schmalz explains that his work, Be Welcoming, also carries a message: “That outstretched hand, reaching out and welcoming all pilgrims, also invites them to discover the depths of their own spirits”.

The artist explained the sculpture is also “a memorial to all the pilgrims who walked this Camino throughout the centuries, searching for the divine hiding in them”.

Schmalz is known for translating hospitality (surely one of the most, if not the most fundamental of all biblical values) into art. His sculptures Homeless Jesus (depicting Jesus as a homeless person, sleeping on a park bench), and Let The Oppressed Go Free (dedicated to the victims of human trafficking) are already well known worldwide.


“Finding hospitality is surely what those who set out on the road, for whatever reason, hope for. That hope is embodied by this angel, who welcomes and accompanies the wanderer,” said the Bishop of Lugo, Monsignor Alfonso Carrasco Rouco, when blessing the sculpture.

Según la Biblia, ¿qué es ser un peregrino?




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