Blessing of the Animals: The Degu Sisters

The Episcopal church commemorates St. Francis of Assisi, Patron Saint of Animals, by offering a blessing to all creatures brought to a service by their caretakers, usually in October. Our summer church, St. Ann’s in Kennebunkport, offers the blessing in July. Luckily for us, the wife of the Rector of our “winter” church, Rev. Sara D’Angio White, is a visiting pastor at an Episcopal church just a mile away from our home.  I asked her if she would like to come to our house and bless our new family members from the Kennebunk shelter after a Sunday service, and she readily agreed! For the week leading up to this morning I let the Degu Sisters know that the “Holy Lady” would soon be coming to honor and bless them. (Someone suggested that we have the Rev. bless only one of the sisters to see if there is a difference in behavior afterward, ha!)

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The lovely Rev. Sara meeting the degus who promptly hid inside their hay house.

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Stormy, the least shy of the sisters, scopes out the Holy Lady from the safety of her hay tunnel.

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Watching and listening to the blessing…

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…and hiding again…

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Blessing continues as they stay inside…

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At the conclusion, Stormy ventured out to visit the Holy Lady!

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To make the degus feel more “at home” which for them would be the foothills of the Andes, I ordered (from an etsy shop based in Bolivia) a beautiful traditional cotton Aguayo blanket made by Bolivian craftspeople. At night I place it over their cage to help block out light and keep away drafts. I also bought it because it’s beautiful and helps support their local economy.

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Above, Buster admiring the vintage heavy cement St. Francis of Assisi garden statue we purchased at the flea market shortly after our wedding. Spring is a month away and we’re eagerly awaiting the re-emergence of our chipmunk friends!

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