In Memory of Bradley, the Church Cat par excellence

In July 1840 (before his conversion to Roman Catholicism), John Henry Newman wrote to a friend:

"While I was sitting in my surplice at the altar in Margaret Chapel [All Saints' Church, Margaret Street, London, now a renowned Anglo-Catholic parish] on Sunday, during the first lesson; a large cat fell from the ceiling, close down at my feet narrowly missing my head. If I am not mistaken, it fell on its back. Where it came from no-one I have met can tell. I had heard a mewing since the beginning of the service. Mrs. Bowden, who observed a large cat at St Mary Maggiore in Rome, suggests it as additional proof that, in the clerk's words, the chapel in Margaret Street goes as near as it ever can to Roman Catholics."

Newman has nothing more to say about his feline encounter.  However, 160 years later on the other side of the Atlantic, the Advent for three years was home to a Church Cat par excellence, Bradley. Here are some of our favorite images of this wonderful feline friend.

Memorials to Bradley:

Bradley's burial, October 24, 2004

Poem by June Knowles, July 24, 2004

Lady Chapel flowers on October 3, 2004

Bradley at his most regal

Bradley arrived at the Advent in October 2001, and lost no time making himself at home - and making sure that everyone else understood their position in the greater scheme of things. He even considered himself the equal of our bishop!

Bradley "enthroned"

Bradley's job consisted largely of being adored, although he was known to assist in pastoral counseling. He was also a multiple gold medalist in the feline sporting events of endurance lap-sitting and crumpled-paper chasing - and, occasionally, taking time to smell the flowers... 

Bradley in the rectory garden

And like any good church cat, Bradley preferred"living" water - particularly when someone was available to turn on the faucet for him.

Bradley in the sink

In case you were wondering, Bradley said his prayers regularly - and he knew where to go to say them, too: right to the Verger's stall, in the tradition of Newman's unexpected visitor.

Bradley in the Verger's stall

For Bradley

A grey shadow,
our royal prince,
glanced a greeting,
sniffed the garden
in spring bloom,
shared summer sun
on a bench he owned.

Balanced on velvet paws,
green eyes shining,
he dipped a pink tongue
in fountain's clear offering.
With mischief and affection
he graced our early
Sunday mornings.

A presence,
silently crossing
the altar,
barely deterred by a
gentle clerical foot,
he was, with us,
God's Creation.

June A. Knowles
July 24, 2004

Remembering Bradley,
a very special cat,
with love and thanksgiving

Bradley's burial, October 24, 2004:


Lady Chapel flowers given in Bradley's memory on October 3, 2004
(appropriately, the eve of St. Francis' Day)