St Ignatius Stamford Hill

Mike O'Driscoll (L) and friends
Mike O’Driscoll from Saint Ignatius parish in north London, reflects on thirty years of soup runs for the homeless that have operated out of the parish. During that period the parishioners have seen the numbers of street homeless wax and wane across the capital. “When we started it was probably at its worst in terms of numbers,” Mike said.  Then in the 1980’s, Britain was in the grip of controversial economic reforms under Margaret Thatcher.  Numbers then steadily decreased,...
Children from St Ignatius primary school
Twenty three parishioners of St.Ignatius in Stamford Hill have just attended the first Haringey Citizens assembly, joining over 150 Christians and many other people of good will at St.Mark’s Methodist Church in Tottenham, in the shadow of the giant cranes of the Spurs stadium reconstruction. With the group were parish team members Sr. Eugenia and both Frs David: Fr Smolira, parish priest and one of the North London Citizens leadership team,  and Fr Stewart, who is also the national...
10 years of Polish Jesuits in Stamford Hill
Stamford Hill in north London is a melting pot of different cultures and religions. Since 2007 the Jesuit parish of St Ignatius has hosted a large and vibrant Polish community.  Ten years ago Polish Jesuits joining the community to help meet their pastoral needs, last weekend saw a special celebration of the ten years of ministry.  On Saturday, there was a celebration of visual arts, folk and religious, followed by two concerts. The first of these was a "showcase of talent" with...
Restored: the main entrance to St Michael's College, Leeds. James W. Bell/flickr
St Michael’s College in Leeds – a Jesuit school from 1905 until the 1970s – has been given a new lease of life as a residential block of studio apartments, principally for key workers such as hospital staff, police, charity workers and the fire service. And next month, a Blue Plaque will be unveiled to commemorate the College and its architect, Benedict Williamson.St Michael's (known by the pupils as St Mick’s) was founded in September 1905, after the Jesuits were invited to provide a...
Bishop Hudson with the ordinands at St Ignatius Church
There was a parish which invited a famous actor to come and recite some of their favourite writings.  The actor recited all different kinds of texts.  As the evening neared its end, he said he would recite just one more.  They asked him to recite Psalm twenty-three, “The Lord is my shepherd”.  “I will,” he said, “on one condition - that the lady over there recites it after me.”He recited it; and everyone applauded.  She recited it; and everyone cried.“What was the...
“That it should come to this”, I remember thinking to myself as I put on the Jesuit gown that we were given a week or so after entering the noviceship in 1977. Most of the previous year I had spent playing a lot of golf and reading a lot of novels but also during that year there grew in me the disturbing feeling that God wanted me to be a Jesuit. I had been at school at St. Aloysius College in Glasgow when there were still quite a number of Jesuits on the staff  and I had always admired...
The Jesuits of Stamford Hill have joined other faith leaders in North London to denounce cultural and religious intolerance. Fr David Smolira SJ, the parish priest of St Ignatius Church was among the group of religious leaders from Stamford Hill’s Jewish, Muslim and Christian communities who came together in a display of unity, ahead of a march planned by a far-right group that is objecting to what it calls the ‘Jewification’ of the area.“The expressions of solidarity were unambiguous and came...
My life with the Jesuits began when I was despatched to a Jesuit boarding school, Stonyhurst College in Lancashire, at the age of nine in austere post-war years. I remained there for eight years, leaving with a State Scholarship in 1955. In those days, there was an immense Jesuit presence in the college and a strong religious atmosphere. This atmosphere contributed to my priestly vocation.Three years at the University of Manchester followed. Then with my Classics degree, I entered the Jesuit...
I remember my father telling me he had a vocation from the age of 8 years old. When I was about that age, he asked me what I might do in the future. I fancied one of those vocation things too, but when he gave me a long verbal list as we waited to collect my sisters from school, none of them seemed to fit. So the scene was set for a lifelong enquiry. If a vocation is some kind of thing, how do I identify it? When will God choose? How will I know when he’s choosing? What choices do I have?St...

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