Saturday, January 3, 2015

Best of 2014: Keep Calm and Have Faith

SUSAN ELIA MACNEAL: Happy 2015, lovely readers and gentle Reds! 

Ispired by Julia's pet post, I'm revisiting mine about Faith, the Church Cat of St. Augustine's. 

Here's to Faith and faith — and a new year of caring and kindness and bravery! 

(And reading and writing, of course...)

I recently learned from the wonderful blog World War II in Color about Faith, the Church Cat of St. Augustine's in London, who was awarded a medal for bravery during the Battle of Britain, for shielding her kitten during the Blitz. JR at World War II in Color says it better than I ever could:

"This is Faith, church cat at Church of England (Episcopalean) Church of St Augustine's and St Faith's, Watling Street, London. She was awarded the Dicken Medal in Silver, and a silver medal from the Greenwich Village Humane Society of New York, for her her courage in sheltering her kitten (Panda - he was black and white) in a hidey-hole in the rectory basement, to which she had retreated from her more comfortable position upstairs, in the course of a severe bombing raid on the night of 9 September, 1940. 

The church and rectory were, basically, battered and burned to destruction by the Luftwaffe, but Faith continued to shield her kitten, under a heap of smouldering rubble, until rescued by her human friends the following day. 

Shortly afterwards, the remainder of the church fell down, destroying her position of refuge. Faith resumed her life as church cat, dying peacefully some years later on her mat in front of an ecclesiastical fireplace. The kitten, Panda, went on to a successful career as resident cat in a care home. 

Yes, I know - this will seem silly to many In Here. But consider. Apart from the fact that it is true, Faith's story became widely known in London at the time, and must have contributed to the morale of many hard-pressed Londoners. 

Her courage and endurance reflected something that Londoners hoped to find in themselves - and generally did. I am a cat person, by the way ... Best regards, JR."


Joan Emerson said...

When you posted this earlier, it was the first time I had heard the inspiring story of Faith. So glad you chose to remind us of it again.
Here's hoping everyone finds their new year filled with kindness and hope and joy . . . .

Reine said...

Before I had my service dog, Kendall, I had Buffalo Thunder-Paws, service cat. Buffalo sensed I needed help standing to transfer from bed to chair. When I sat up in bed he would rush to me and turn. He'd stick his tail straight up for me to grab hold of and balance myself. He would lead me in the dark from chair to bed. If I didn't look right to him he would yell at me, as only a Maine Coon cat can yell and lean on my legs if I tried to move. If I dropped something he would pick it up and give it to me. If it was too heavy he would yell at Steve to come help. But if it was a crumpled up piece of paper he would play with it.

When I got Kendall from Power Paws Assistance Dogs in Scottsdale, I thought Buffalo would be jealous. Instead he was relieved. Then he realized Kendall needed a little breaking in. One day he was sitting on the counter when I started to transfer from my chair, and Kendall didn't move to help. Buffalo howled and jumped off the counter. Kendall sat up and stared. Buffalo ran to me, turned, and straightened his tail for me to hold. After that Kendall knew what to do, and Buffalo was happy to let him.

<3 Buffalo Thunder-Paws 7/1/01 - 12/7/14

Susan Elia MacNeal said...

Reine, what a beautiful story about Buffalo. May he rest in peace.

Kaye Barley said...

So lovely, thank you.

Kathy Reel said...

I must have somehow missed the original post, Susan, but thank you for such a lovely, sweet story, and I plan to visit the WWII blog mentioned. The story of Faith is indeed a great choice for the beginning of the new year, when we need to look at what is possible and strive for it.

Reine, December has been such a crazy month for me, with work being done inside my house and family and Christmas. I hope that at the time of Buffalo's passing I said something nice on your FB page. If not, please excuse the tardiness and accept my condolences for this member of your family that meant so much to you.

Hank Phillippi Ryan said...

Such a great story..thank you!

Reine said...

Susan, thank you. I love your church kitty story. Really very moving.

Kathy, thank you. You always leave good comments.


Julia said...

I love how Faith Kept Calm and Carried On. Truly, an example of the English at their best.