A church in Bovina, Mississippi welcomed a different type of congregant last year. The St. Alban’s Episcopal Church took in a church kitten named Salome.
Last summer, the Reverend Elisabeth Malphurs, rector of St. Alban’s, was confronted with a growing issue: a mouse infestation. The rector retaliated against the invaders by strategically setting traps all over her parish grounds.
Still, it wasn’t enough. The mouse problem required a better solution.
At a Wednesday night service, Elisabeth Malphurs had a lightbulb moment. Her church would do well with a kitten.
She shared her idea with the assembly, and something peculiar happened. As churchgoers left the building after the service, they encountered a calico kitten right outside the church.
The group agreed to adopt the puss. For her name, they suggested three options, all after female religious figures: Mary, Joanna, or Salome.
Eventually, one name won the contest. Reverend Malphurs stated in an interview:
“We named her Salome and decided to see if she’d stick around, and she did.”
Kitten Salome now lives in a humble house that a parishioner built for her before the onset of winter. Furthermore, a tiny electric heating pad is plugged in during the winter to make the place cozy.
Salome, the church kitten
Although the cat spends most of her time exploring the parish, the church, and the fellowship hall are open to her. However, the kitten must observe some rules.
Sunday services are off-limits for the cat. Throughout the week, it’s a different affair. Salome can wander in the building as worshippers love her, and none has reported an allergy.
Nevertheless, when rector Malphurs was away, Salome ignored the Sunday rule on one occasion. The feline climbed on a churchgoer’s lap during the service.
Unfortunately for her, the worship leader had to remove her from the premises. Despite being prohibited from Sunday worship, Salome can attend the Wednesday night service and Bible study.
Since adopting Salome, Reverend Malphurs has not regretted her choice once. On the contrary, the puss is very popular among her assembly.
Having worked as a social worker and visiting elderly people in nursing homes, Malphurs can attest to the indescribable comfort and love that animals can bring.
Besides, Salome is sociable and doesn’t mind the attention. Malphurs claims caring for all creatures has always been part of St Alban’s vocation.
“I think she’s just another reflection of that and she brings us so much joy,” The rector revealed
Moreover, Salome’s presence has one undeniable benefit: no more mice.
Malphurs had spent the entire summer of 2021 capturing mice. But since Salome’s arrival, the rector hasn’t spotted any rodents in her church.
This furry congregant has definitely made her mark in St Alban.