Dodie – Eugene, Oregon

Well, hello there!  I’m a five-year-old female kitty.  I would like to join the Feline Cloister because I am an only cat, living with two dogs and three humans.  This really can be really challenging for me. I need a community with others who are like me and who understand things only other cats can understand.  I feel so grateful to have found the Feline Cloister. Meow!

When I shared this on the Zoom call with Br. Ricky, my new Novice Master, he gave a great, big feline smile.  “We are delighted that you are with us, too, Novice Dodie.”  That made me so happy.  He really understood my need to be with like-minded felines.

He asked me what I thought were my outstanding characteristics.  I am loving and playful for a start.  Br. Ricky opened his well-worn copy of the Rule of St. Benedict in Mew and shared this verse.

“Among themselves they show the pure love of sisters and brothers;
to God, reverent love…”     RB 72.8, 9

“Sounds like you are well on your way to being a good Feline Cloister member, Novice Dodie,”  he mewed with encouragement.  I shared, too, that I am charismatic and talkative.  Br. Ricky looked down and made a quick note in his little notebook with his tiny green pencil.  “Dodie, I need to share that there are times when silence is needed.  Benedict has a whole chapter in the Rule about the restraint of speech.” 

Oh, oh, I mewed to myself.  This is going to be tougher than I thought.  Here are the verses he mewed.

“Prefer moderation in speech and speak no foolish chatter, nothing just to provoke laughter; do not love immoderate or boisterous laughter.”
                                                                                         RB 4.52-54

These verses are from the chapter, The Tools for Good Works.  I decided then and there I would do my best to be moderate in my mewing.  Sounds like the other cloister felines follow this, so I should too.

Dodie in her harness enjoying the great outdoors
in her cozy pink sweater

I am one of the rare felines who will tolerate a harness.  I love to be outside in my harness.  Another fun thing is to play with string.  And, of course, I love to cuddle.  Br. Ricky purred and shared that my life had a good Benedictine balance of activities alone and those with others.  He especially liked the cuddling, explaining that humans really love this.

One thing I don’t like is when my human gets out the vacuum.  Hiss.  It makes so much noise.  Talk about restraint of speech!  The vacuum ought to heed this instruction. 

Then there’s the doorbell.  I hissed again and the fur rose on my back just at the thought.

Illus.  The normal feline response to harnesses and leashes

Br. Ricky nodded.  He confessed that when the doorbell rings, the several Feline Cloister members hide.  Benedictine hospitality gets a short shrift.

I confessed that I do get annoyed at times, especially when everyone is asleep and it’s my breakfast time.  Br. Ricky nodded in understanding.  “Maybe your humans are tired and need extra sleep.  Benedict asks us to put the needs of others first.”

“No monastics are to pursue what they judge better for themselves, but instead, what they judge better for someone else.”  RB 72.7

“This may be something you could focus on as a novice, Dodie.  I know you love your humans.”

And that is true!  I am so happy about becoming a novice, and it’s not only for myself.  I want to help my human learn how to live a spiritual life while still being in the world with all its distractions.  I am grateful to be with like-minded felines.

My favorite verses from the Rule:

“Your way of acting should be different from the world’s way;
the love of Christ must come before all else.”  RB 4.20-21

Dodie charms her friends
and has fun with her toys