For one lucky cat in Washington, the feast of St. Francis is more than a day to receive a few sprinkles of holy water. It’s the anniversary of the day when he found a permanent home.
Francisco, named after St. Francis of Assisi, was an abandoned newborn kitten living in the front yard of a convent of Capuchin Poor Clare sisters in Wilmington, Del. The sisters couldn’t keep the kitten because they already had two dogs that weren’t willing to share space with a cat. The cat bounced around from home to home for a few months but couldn’t find permanent housing.
The Poor Clares had heard that their spiritual brothers in Washington, the Capuchin Franciscan Friars from the Province of St. Augustine, had a mouse problem, and they offered a very Franciscan solution. After convening a chapter, a meeting of brothers, on the pros and cons of having a cat, the brothers voted to welcome Francisco as the house cat at their friary, next to the Shrine of the Sacred Heart.
Francisco, who took the name of St. Francis, but in Spanish, arrived at the friary on Oct. 3, 2011, the eve of the feast of St. Francis.
The friars say they haven’t seen a mouse since then and the cat has come to be a well-known fixture in the parish.