Pets have a way of quickly becoming part of our families. The loss of a beloved cat or dog is devastating, and a memorial offers a way to honor what they meant to us. The Southwark Cathedral knows this all too well, as the London-based church recently held a service to memorialize its beloved furry congregant named Doorkins Magnificat.
The stray feline lived in the cathedral for 12 years (arriving in 2008) and died on September 30, 2020. In a touching obituary written by the Very Reverend Andrew Nunn, Dean of Southwark, he describes the beginnings of when Doorkins came to reside in the church. “From those first tentative steps into the building she made the church her own,” he wrote. “She preferred the holy spaces and every so often she would move to another place which became her favorite spot.” And like many cats, important visitors—even the Queen of England—weren’t enough to stir her from slumber in a cozy place.
During her years spent at the church, Doorkins was a warm presence for congregants, new and returning alike. But in 2017, her health began to take a turn for the worse. Kidney problems, hearing loss, and blindness all befell her, and she eventually went to live with Paul Timms, the head verger, at his home. She suffered a stroke at the end of September and died in his arms.
To commemorate the beloved feline, Southwark held a memorial service under its Gothic arches and then laid Doorkins to rest in the churchyard. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, only 30 people were allowed to attend the ceremony, but it was simultaneously live streamed and is now available to watch on YouTube. Since being held on October 28, 2020, there have been nearly 20,000 views of the service.