Who Had Faith
|In 1936, a skinny, bony cat took
refuge in St Augustine's and St Faith's
on Watling Street in London. Three times the church's verger, Thomas Evans,
put the cat out - and three times she snuck back in. Father Henry Ross, church
rector, decided she should
stay. A warm bed was found for her, as well as food. Father
Henry named her Faith.
Faith settled in, keeping the church free from mice. She attended all church services presided over by Father Ross, frequently sitting in the front pew, or in the pulpit at his feet while he preached. She became a well-loved, well-rounded member of the church.
One morning 4 years later, Father Henry discovered Faith had given birth to a single, healthy kitten. After the Sunday announcement in church, the choir sang "All Things Bright and Beautiful."
When the kitten was a couple of weeks old, Faith scratched at the door to go downstairs. When the door was opened, she went downstairs, then scratched at the next door and when it was opened, went down into the basement. Keeping the door ajar, Father Henry went back to work -- but minutes later, he saw Faith carrying the kitten in her jaws.
He followed her to the basement, and discovered she had set the kitten in a dirty, dusty corner behind books and discarded sheet music. Fearing for the kitten's health, Father Henry gently picked it up and carried it back to its warm basket upstairs. Faith promptly took the kitten back downstairs -- and the interplay was repeated twice more, until Father Henry finally took the basket down and put it in the corner. Faith settled in with her kitten, apparently content.
The next night, the Germans bombed London. Many homes near the church were destroyed and more than 400 people died. Away from his church, Father Henry spent the night at a shelter.
In the morning, he returned to the church and was sorely disheartened to see that the building had been nearly destroyed, with small fires blazing and downed timbers everywhere. Acting on faith, Father Henry struggled through the building to where he had placed the cats' basket earlier -- and with joy, reached down to pick up Faith and her kitten, who greeted him with meows.
Soon after the rescue, the church's roof caved in.
Faith's kitten, named Panda for his black and white coloring, grew up to be a much-loved pet and mascot at a residential nursing home.
Father Henry had Faith's photograph taken and hung on the chapel wall. This was displayed below the photo:
Our dear little church cat of St. Augustine and St. Faith.
The bravest cat in the world.
On Monday, September 9th, 1940, she endured horrors and perils
beyond the power of words to tell.
Shielding her kitten in a sort of recess in the house (a spot
she selected three days before the tragedy occurred), she
sat the whole frightful night of bombing and fire, guarding her
The roofs and masonry exploded. The whole house blazed. Four
floors fell through in front of her. Fire and water and ruin
all round her.
Yet she stayed calm and steadfast and waited for help.
We rescued her in the early morning while the place was still
By the mercy of Almighty God, she and
her kitten were not only saved, but unhurt.
God be praised and thanked for His goodness
and mercy to our dear little pet.
In October 1945, the war had ended and the church had been rebuilt. Faith was presented with a silver Dickin Medal created especially for her by PDSA founder Maria Dickin. Father Henry arranged to have the Archbishop of Canterbury present, while Maria Dickin read the inscription from a paper scroll and hung the medal around Faith's neck.