St. Teresa's blesses animals during special Carson City service

The lions were laying with the lambs. . . and the horses and the cockatiels on the grounds of St. Teresa of Avila Catholic Church on Sunday as Father Bill Patron and Sister Marie conducted a service to bless the animals.

"The Feast of St. Francis of Assisi is Oct. 4, and he was a lover of animals . . . He loved the birds, and the animals of the forest," Sister Marie said, noting that this event, held annually, is scheduled a little early.

She came here from Ireland in 1956, has been known as "Sister Marie" since moving to Carson City in 1984. And despite her tenure, she has no intention of retiring.

"I love it, " Sister Marie said. "I'll leave when God calls me home, and I can no longer work."

A Franciscan, she said she brought the ceremony to Northern Nevada, and with time other Catholic churches in the area have followed suit. About thirty animals were brought to Sunday's event.

Mary Rasmussen was there with her three Boston Terriers and Joan Wong brought her tiny Pomeranian mix Leona.

Nancee Goldwater, a Douglas County animal control officer brought a rabbit, a rather anxious tabby cat and a picture of the red-tailed hawk she will be releasing on Monday. In her spare time, Goldwater works as a wildlife rehabilitator at the Wildlife Animal Infirmary in Washoe Valley: an interest she hopes to pursue full-time once she retires.

"It's heartwarming to see people that care about their pets," Goldwater said. "In my business, I see so many that are considered a throw-away commodity."


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