attention st martins animal blessing Oct2013 011The annual Blessing of Animals took place on October 12 at St. Martin’s Church, Kensal Green, London, the Rev. Graham Noyce officiating.

The service was dedicated to the nuns of the Russian Orthodox Convent of the Nativity of the Virgin in the Kaluga region of Russia where they have established a sanctuary for abandoned animals, mainly cats.

The photos of the event are courtesy of our member Thom Bonneville:

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This is Buster

This is Buster








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~ This is Lottie


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QCA friend James Hogan writes:

The Convent of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin, the Mother of God in Baryatino recently completed the rebuilding work that was necessary after the disastrous fire that destroyed most of the convent’s buildings in 2007 and I wanted to see the finished work, as well as spend some time at the convent to see how the rescued cats were integrated into the daily life of the convent.

There are currently 71 cats being looked after at the convent and the numbers are rising, so they have resorted to putting posters outside the convent urging people not to abandon cats at the convent as it is causing a severe strain on their resources.

Although all of the cats who arrive at the convent have had owners, some of them have never lived indoors so they are housed in sheds or in special cat houses dotted around the convent’s grounds.  The rest attach themselves to individual nuns and stay with them in their rooms in ones, twos and threes, though they also roam outdoors during the day.

All of the cats are neutered and vaccinated, and a vet from the city of Kaluga 30 km. away visits as and when necessary to treat seriously ill cats.  Sister Sergia, the nun with primary responsibility for the management and care of the cats was a trained nurse in the Russian health service before she became a nun and she has readily transferred her nursing skills for humans to care for her four-legged patients. She has now set up a quarantine section in the convent’s grounds to prevent any new cats with health problems infecting the existing residents.

The abiding impression one is left with after spending some time at the convent and observing the interaction between animals and people is that the nuns view their animal welfare work as a natural expression  of their Christian faith.

It is not some incidental, add-on activity they feel they have to do, but something that is an organic extension of their Christian life at the convent.

They have developed a lifestyle that is largely self-sufficient; they grow all their own vegetables, have a mainly vegetarian diet, and attempt to live in harmony with the natural world in which they have established their convent.

James on the left.

James on the left.

~ Thank you, James, for this update on the compassionate work of the nuns at the convent and for your support of their initiative.

Please see for earlier news. Sister Anastasia, then a postulant, is now Sister Sergia.