A Cathedral in London has held a funeral service for a stray cat who made the building her home twelve years ago. The cat, who staff had named Doorkins Magnificat, passed away in September. Doorkins had lived at Southwark Cathedral since 2008. She was loved by all the staff and congregation, and she also captured the hearts of visitors to the church. When she passed away, everyone wanted to give her the funeral that she deserved. Doorkins had a huge following on Twitter, and her funeral service was streamed on social media. There is a video of the service that is still available to view on the Cathedral website. After the service took place she was laid to rest in the churchyard. She became one of the main attractions at the Cathedral almost immediately after she decided that this was the place where she now wanted to live. She was popular with tourists who visited the Cathedral, as well as those who attended services there. People would pay a visit to the Cathedral just to get the chance to meet her.
During her life, Doorkins met the Queen and had a children’s book written about her. She spent her time greeting visitors to the Cathedral and became one of the building’s most familiar faces. In her later life, she became blind and deaf and so she was taken home by a church official, where she lived until she sadly passed away. Even now that she has passed away, she still remains an important part of the Cathedral, even though she is no longer physically present. There is a whole section that is dedicated to the story of her life after she came to the Cathedral on their official website. She first appeared at the Cathedral in 2008, looking for food and shelter. She was not the kind of cat that liked to be picked up and cuddled, but it soon became obvious that she thought of the Cathedral as her home.
In 2017 the Cathedral doors were locked for several days after a terrorist attack took place in the nearby Borough Market. Before this, Doorkins would come and go from the Cathedral on a regular basis but when she re-entered the Cathedral again after it reopened she did not leave until she went to live with the church official. She must have been worried that she would get locked out again, and didn’t want to risk losing her home. After her death was announced, many people got in touch to say how sad they were to hear the news. Many of them also asked if there would be a service held to commemorate her life. The Dean of the Cathedral, Andrew Nunn, was also keen to celebrate the life of the cat who had bought so much joy to everyone at the church. He wanted her to have the send-off she deserved. Due to the coronavirus restrictions, there were not many people who could attend the service. If it was held during different times, then there is a good chance that the Cathedral would have been full of people who wanted to pay their respects to Doorkins. It was the first time that a memorial service had been held at the Cathedral for a cat, but this just goes to show how special she was.
The coronavirus pandemic did cause some controversy surrounding the memorial. There were people that felt it was a little disrespectful to hold a ceremony for a cat, when restrictions had been placed on the number of people who can attend funerals for their family members and friends. The number of people at Doorkins memorial did not break any of these rules, but there were still people that were not convinced it should have gone ahead. One of the biggest critics of the service taking place was Philip North, the bishop of Burnley, a town in the north of England where the coronavirus restrictions are stricter than London. Metro reported that North tweeted that he believed the service was insensitive. However, it soon became clear that this was not a popular opinion. There were many people that shared stories of how being able to view the service for Doorkins, helped them with their own grief. 2020 has been a difficult year for people all over the world, but there were a lot of comments on social media from people who found comfort from the fact that they could see how much the cat was loved. This is a view that is shared by the staff of the Cathedral.
Dean Nunn told CNN that Doorkins had bought people to the Cathedral, that might not have visited otherwise. He acknowledges that Doorkins had an appeal that was able to reach people in a way that he could not. They came to the Cathedral to see Doorkins but were also able to appreciate the fact that they were in a sacred space, and this was good for their overall well-being. Southwark Cathedral has always attracted a lot of visitors because it is an excellent example of Gothic architecture. It is located on the south bank of the River Thames, and is close to other landmarks such as The Shard and The Globe theater. Since Doorkins began living there, she was a common sight and could often be seen taking a nap in the pews or strolling around the building during a service. Doorkins had been suffering from ill-health for some time. She was not a kitten when she first started visiting the Cathedral, but no-one knows for sure how old she was. On the night that she passed away, her owner could see that her health had deteriorated quite dramatically and he guessed that the end was near. She passed away peacefully in his arms. Her death bought sadness to the staff at the Cathedral and those who followed her on social media, but they are all grateful for the joy that she bought them and it is clear that she will never be forgotten.