“the Table is ready, and all are invited.”
The inscription “Hic domus dei est et porta coeli,” which means “This is the house of God and the gateway to heaven” towers over the portal to the church of Old Mission San Juan Bautista, greeting all who enter. But if guests happen to glance down, they might see a slightly rotund white cat with black markings and no ears. This would be Sula, the mission cat decreed by God, who he calls his Boss, to welcome all to the mission and to comfort those who are hurting. Sula knows about pain because he suffered through two bouts of cancer, having lost his ears in the process. Surviving Cancer, Healing People: One Cat’s Story by Sula Parish Cat at Old Mission was written and photographed by staff and friends of the mission, but cleverly presented in the voice of Sula. As we learn about Sula, we also learn about the mission as well as St. Francis’ Friars Minor and the Sisters of Atonement. As a tourist destination, the mission calls to all to come to the table and worship. To quote Fr. Jerry from Sula, “the Table is ready, and all are invited.”
Surviving Cancer, Healing People: One Cat’s Story was written to raise funds for the Old Mission San Juan Bautista. Because the over-200-year-old mission sits on top of the intersection of three fault lines, earthquakes have struck twice in the past and each tremor has weakened it. Beyond being a fundraiser, though, the book is an inspirational call to worship. This little book about Sula, the mission cat, not only weaves short sermons into each chapter, but gives a short history of the mission of San Juan Bautista. We learn why cat doors were installed, why the church doors were built so high, and why the church was arranged around the sun of the winter solstice. Thanks to the great writing, photography and editing, the book flows nicely and leaves the reader with a positive and peaceful feeling. Loved this little book! I want to go to the mission now and visit with Mr. Sula in person. I highly recommend this sweet little book to all readers.