Here I go...

Finding magic under the stars of the Camino Santiago de Compostela

Saturday, March 30, 2013

RIP Gilbert Janeri

Gilbert Janeri, in a photo taken shortly before his departure to Spain

 The family of the Brazilian found dead last Saturday morning in Spain have decided to complete the Camino not finished by Gilbert Janeri, 43 years of age. According to Sonia Toledo (sister), Gilbert's body will be cremated in Brazil on March 30 and she, her husband, daughter, and son-in-law will depart by car to finish The Way for him.

Sonia said it was her brother's wish that if he could not survive the journey, his body be cremated and his ashes left at the Cruz de Ferro.
"We have decided to make the journey by car and get the stamps as we pass through the villages, as Gilbert wished," she said.

The Brazilian executive was found dead on Saturday morning by park rangers on one of the trails near the Camino de Santiago. According to the family, he was 700 meters away from the route. "We do not know if the snow hid the plates with arrows. Surely he was lost."

The last contact with the family of Gilbert was done by e-mail on March 6 in the city of Saint Jean Pied de Port, France. He had written that he was not sure if he would take the path through the Pyrenees or some other. It was snowing and there were very few pilgrims on the trail.

"He told us not to worry, that he would contact us to let us know he was safe," said his sister. "We spent a week without news, waiting, and nothing. We sent e-mail, and he did not answer. But we thought soon we would receive news. Many people are shocked."

Gilbert's body was found five hours walk from St. Jean. The Consulate of Brazil in Barcelona told the relatives that the executive may have died of a heart attack, but there is no confirmation yet.

Sonia believes this was the cause of the death of her brother.  Their father also died of a heart attack at age 46. According to the sister, Gilbert was a smoker and despite having been prepared to walk the Camino, the first section has very steep climbs and the deep snow may have made the trek more difficult.

The sister suggested that Gilbert felt he would not come back alive, and a weekend before he left, the family attended the film The Way, in which the main character travels to France to recover the body of his son, killed on the Camino de Santiago.

Gilbert worked at a Canadian logistics company in Brazil and eventually came to live in Canada, where he obtained citizenship.  
He leaves a son.
* * *

To be wrapped in the snowy wings of the Pyrenees is not such a bad way to go.
Many of us understand this burning desire you had to follow the call of the Camino. 
We are thankful you were doing something you loved.
May you rest in Peace, Gilbert.

We will remember you.



  1. It's sad that a pilgrim passes away on the Camino. I think his family have a good idea to finish the journey in his memory. Does anyone know where he was last seen? Maybe placing a wayside cross near there would be fitting.

  2. Yes, it is very sad. I'm sure that someone will place a memorial. I will be sure to look for it next time I walk that stretch.

  3. Annie, thoughtful account, thank you. I worked with Gilbert in Brazil and in Canada, and will miss him. As we say/learn in the Camino "leave behind what no longer serves you in this life"... in Gilbert's case, I like to think he was ready for his next journey and no longer needed his body in this life. May we remember him for living and dying doing what he loved, and may his family accept this sunset as a sunrise somewhere else. Peace.

    1. Junia, thank you for sharing your thoughts.
      It is very dificult to accept, but God definetely will help us.

  4. Obrigada, Junia, for your kind words.

  5. Dear Annie,
    Thank you for your kind words.
    We all will miss him!

    My family and I went to Spain and we was able to place a wonderful memorial for him in the way... It is very visible for everyone who does the Pirineus and almost arriving in Roncesvalles.
    When we were there, we had already seen a lot of peregrins passing throuhg and praying for his soul. Defitely he will receive a lot of positive vibrations and will be remainded forever.


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