A group of Hospitaleros Voluntarios del Camino de Santiago paid tribute to three deceased companions on Sunday 28th January: “Resti” Gutiérrez, “Justi” Infante and José Ignacio Díaz. Around 30 people from different parts of Spain went to Mostelares, on the outskirts of Castrojeriz, to plant three trees and place plaques at their feet.
This is a custom that dates back to 2015, in memory of the disappeared comrades: an olive, almond or holm oak tree is planted in their memory in an area called El Bosque de las Almas (The Wood of the Souls).
The event was of particular importance to the group, which paid tribute to José Ignacio Díaz, the founder of Hospitaleros Voluntarios, parish priest of Santiago el Real de Logroño, pilgrim and hospitalero, and “prominent figure”. The idea of traditional, voluntary and fraternal hospitality, which characterises this group of volunteers, came from him and was presented at the First International Forum of the Pilgrim’s Way to Santiago, held in Jaca (Huesca) in 1987, in order to serve the pilgrims, whose numbers began to grow in the 1980s. Hospitaleros Voluntarios was ‘officially’ born in 1990 with the first hostel in Hornillos del Camino, where its volunteers served.
Resti Gutiérrez was in charge of the municipal hostel in Castrojeriz for many years, while Justi Infante, a “humble and loving worker”, came to the Pilgrim’s Way thanks to his doctor’s prescription.
After the trees were planted, ceramic plaques from the workshop of a ceramist in Triana, Seville, were placed to commemorate the work of the three volunteers.