Social Apostolate St. Ignatius: A Place of Refuge, A Place of Acceptance, and a Place of Social Inclusion


Viannie Egbunike is an intern at Caritas St. Joseph’s from California, USA. She is studying abroad at Foundation for International Education (FIE) in Kensington, London. Viannie is currently studying International Relations and Sociology at FIE and at her home institution in Los Angeles, California (Loyola Marymount University), and was able to attend Social Apostolate St. Ignatius’ Easter lunch-in on April 13, 2022. Below is her reflection, where she discusses her impressions of the project and experience volunteering at the event.

“Last Wednesday, I was fortunate enough to attend an Easter lunch-in with Rosa (Development Worker for North London) and Niki (Development Worker for Outer West London) at Social Apostolate St. Ignatius in Stamford Hill. I am an intern at Caritas St. Joseph’s, where I am a receptionist and assistant at the centre. At Caritas St. Joseph’s, I check in the students and their carers, assist in the classes that the students attend, and provide one-on-one support for students who may need assistance in their classes. It was a great change of scenery being able to experience a different branch of Caritas and being able to help out at the Easter lunch-in. It was also a wonderful experience being able to have conversation with some of the Polish migrants all while providing them food.

stamford hill

I was able to speak to three women who work at the Social Apostolate (Jolanta, Kasia, and Gabriela), and our conversation was delightful because I was able to learn more about what Social Apostolate does and see how passionate these three women are about being making the church more than just a church— they make Social Apostolate St. Ignatius a place of refuge, a place of acceptance, and a place of social inclusion. It is inspiring to see how much work they and the other staff members put in to make sure that every person who comes to the church is well feed, knows that they cared for, there is no judgment, and that all the church wants to do is help them in any way that they can. I was also very impressed with how they provide three church services in Polish, English, and Spanish in order to accommodate anyone who attends the church’s services. Back home in California, it is not usual for churches to offer church services in three different languages, so it is remarkable to see a church care about its members so openly.

As an international student from America with a limited amount of volunteer experience with food banks, being able to see the work that Social Apostolate does was incredible. I have never volunteered with a church that not only provides food for people to take without it being pre-packaged, but also hot meals, clothes, and a sense of community. Seeing the Polish migrants interact with everyone, being able to make friends with one another, and relate to one another was extraordinary because I have never experienced such a strong sense of community at a food bank before. Social Apostolate St. Ignatius does a phenomenal job of bringing people together during the toughest of times.”

If you are interested in volunteering at Social Apostolate St. Ignatius, or other similar projects, visit the Caritas Volunteer Service.



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