August 19th, 2013
Each volunteer has a different story to tell
Volunteering with homeless people has been an enormously enriching experience and the monthly reflection and prayer meetings at the Hurtado Jesuit Centre have made it insightful and linked me to other volunteers.
At the beginning of every meeting we pray using various forms of prayer imbedded in the Ignatian Spirituality. I find that through this experience, I open up to the feelings and thoughts born from the encounter with the people who I am lucky to meet in a shelter for homeless people.
Every volunteer in the group has a different story to tell because we are all in different placements. But we share the same challenges and joys of working with people who feel lost, helpless and who need a friend to talk to. We also quickly became friends and we meet outside of the group meetings for socials which is a nice bonus for our hard work!
The two things that I have found most precious while volunteering with the London Jesuit Volunteers are the experience of group prayer and talking about our placements. It always amazes me how one prayer, be it reading the scriptures or doing an imaginative exercise, has so many different effects on the people. And I like listening to others sharing their stories because through this experience I realise how much of our experience is shared even though we are all from different walks of life, different countries and different cultural backgrounds.
Having listened to other volunteers’ stories, I quickly realised that my role in my placement is not to try to heal the homeless people from their addictions or unhealthy life attitudes. I’m there to be with them. Whatever choices they make and however harmful these choices can be for them, I’m there every week on the same day. I believe they appreciate it.
by Wiktor Madejczyk, a London Jesuit Volunteer