Her Works Have Indeed Helped

Author Interview
Sula Parish Cat Author Interview

Surviving Cancer, Healing People tells the charming, endearing, and inspiring stories, shared by parishioners at Old Mission San Juan Bautista of Sula the cat. Why was this an important book for you to write?

There was a pragmatic reason and a spiritual reason. 

The pragmatic reason was to raise money for Old Mission San Juan Bautista that was faced with potential closure if it could not meet the State of California’s earthquake standards. Retrofitting without damage to the historicity of the church was estimated at $14 million. Sula had already been featured in national magazines, the feature story in the Christmas issue of Guideposts Magazine in 2015 and then reprinted as the feature story in the first edition of All Creatures Magazine. It seemed that additional stories might be of interest and value to people beyond the local parish, which was already devoted to her and has loved all her books (6 books followed the publication of this one), and that the sales of a book with her stories might contribute to Save the Mission fund. Her works have indeed helped.

The spiritual reason was associated with her multiple bouts of cancer. Visitors would often ask why Sula had no ears. (They were removed because of cancer.) Parishioners with cancer and other health problems found comfort and hope in Sula’s resilience in the face of cancer. The book focused on the questions that kept popping up. Why Sula? (The same question that folks with cancer ask: Why me?) Where is God at these times? Is there hope? How should I react to people who are suffering from cancer and other diseases? The book attempted to answer these questions within the framework of Catholic faith, especially Franciscan orientation toward nature and animals. Old Mission San Juan Bautista is a Franciscan mission and has several statures of St. Francis, one of which Sula would visit every morning. For those who do not know, St. Francis is the patron saint of animals.

What is one story about Sula that inspires you personally?

Sula would select different people to sit beside (or on) at Masses. She always seemed to select a person in need of her love. My favorite story is the one in which she chose to sit in the lap of a visitor to the Mission one Christmas eve. She never left his lap, and he did not go down to communion, preferring instead to hold her throughout the entire Mass. He said afterward that he finally felt forgiven for the times in his childhood that he had abused animals and about which he had felt wretched for many years as an adult.

What were some ideas that were important for you to share in this book?

Love, forgiveness, acceptance, hope — and that people can indeed learn from the example of animals. Perhaps most important: understanding that God does not do bad things to good people but provides support (sometimes, furry support) to help those who trust Him to cope with the bad things, make the best of them, and use the experience to help others.

What do you hope is one thing readers take away from this book?

The last two lines of the book sum up the book and, hopefully, the take-away: “There is no better calling for a cat than this: to give my love to the people because the people, in return, give their love to me. I think that is what God wants every cat—and every person—to do.”

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website | Blog

A cat with a divine mission, Sula has an uncanny ability to sense which parishioners at Old Mission San Juan Bautista (California) need her attention at any given Mass. But…is it really uncanny, or does St. Francis give Sula tasks during her daily conversations with him? Or is she led by God? Sula has developed a special bond with cancer survivors like herself. The bond between her and the Old Mission parishioners saw her through two bouts of cancer, flooding her with gifts: money for surgery, a home for recovery, prayers, and love. In these pages, you will find charming, endearing, and inspiring stories, shared by parishioners and told from the point of view of a lovable and amazingly insightful cat. Once you open this book, you will not close it!

About Literary Titan

The Literary Titan is an organization of professional editors, writers, and professors that have a passion for the written word. We review fiction and non-fiction books in many different genres, as well as conduct author interviews, and recognize talented authors with our Literary Book Award. We are privileged to work with so many creative authors around the globe.

Posted on February 6, 2023, in Interviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.


Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: