a group of very special souls.
It was an attack of pleurisy that led the young piano teacher to visit Meredith Starr's retreat at East Challacombe, N. Devonshire, and so hear of Meher Baba for the first time. Her brother Herbert had discovered this retreat through an ad in Light, a metaphysical journal. On July 17, 1931, came Baba's cable to Meredith, "Love calls Me to the West. Make preparations." Meredith and the group he had drawn together carried them out and Kitty's home* was chosen for His first visit.
That very first evening under the same roof with the Master, Kitty together with her brother Herbert and Margaret Craske, fell under the spell of the Beloved. She was one of those who saw Him alone that evening:
"I was impressed with Baba's long hair and His kindly face and manner. My eyes filled with tears. I spoke to Him only of my brother, who was so soon to depart for China. Baba said not to worry — He was sending Herbert for His work."
Margaret told her that in the middle of the night she had jumped up from the floor and going to her bed, shook Margaret awake. Margaret said, "What is the matter? Anything wrong? Why are you weeping?" Kitty replied, "He is so wonderful, so lovely." In the morning, she had no recollection of this. And thus began a lifetime of dedication to her Master, "Shri Sadguru Meher Baba," as He was called then, in the Thirties.
Of all the Western women Baba has contacted, Kitty has spent** the longest time in actual day-to-day residence with Him, and thus holds a unique position from which to describe what it was like to follow the living Christ, day to day, month to month, year to year. Knowing this, I had asked her years ago to write up her reminiscences for The Awakener Magazine, which she kindly did, later adding more material and publishing her book Love Alone Prevails. Fortunately, she had kept continuous diaries, and her book as no other, gives a coherent story of life with Baba from 1931 to His demise in 1969. It is a wonderful book. I can only give a few highlights here.
It was at Meher Center in Myrtle Beach, in 1952, that I first met Kitty. Baba had arrived from India with 12 disciples, 6 men and 6 women, 2 of whom were Westerners, Rano Gayley and Kitty Davy. I'll always love Kitty for her wonderful advice. I was very shy, hanging in the background when others crowded around Baba. "You must go up close, Baba likes that," she told me. So I did, and it was true. Baba liked you to show that you always wanted to be near Him. Another point Kitty stressed was always to be on time, more than that, to be early, then you might win the sweetness of a few extra moments, maybe an extra embrace, from the Beloved. In Kitty you always felt such a generosity of sharing Baba with you. Whatever possessive feelings about Him she must have had (everyone does, in the beginning) were completely worn away.
As in India, Kitty was involved, at the Center, in making Baba's meals. I was helping her wash up, when the phone rang, and Rano gave Baba's message: "Filadele" are not to do any work while they are My guests at the Center." Baba not only knows what is happening everywhere, but how to play the perfect host. And, as workers for Baba, you can see how His Western women also, played hostess graciously to so many seekers, following His example. (Who, at the Center, has not tasted Kitty's delicious stew, or her rice-and-dal?). I recall too a little scene in the Hotel Roosevelt in Los Angeles, in '56, of Kitty cooking spinach and rice for Baba on a little Sterno stove on the rug in her hotel room. On this same '56 trip it was only Kitty who had a copy of Baba's Prayer of Repentance. When Baba asked us all to stand and say it, Kitty ran to get it, and recited it for us all.
These little memories of Kitty — her quick and ever-present alertness to the needs of the Master — come back to me as I write. Her selfless service is unique. But as with the others, the shine and polish came through many years of discipline with Baba, which she describes so well and so honestly in her book. It is hard to imagine today that Kitty had "moods". But as she says in her article Come and See***, Baba makes you face up to the truth of yourself. "There is no escape in a life lived in a group, living at close quarters . . . every detail of the life of each is known to the Master. For example, someone insults
*"Kitty's home ” should read “Kitty Davy's family home” - - see Corrections in Table of Contents
**"Kitty has spent” should read "Kitty is one of those who has spent" - - see Corrections in Table of Contents. - webmaster, JK
***Meher Baba Journal, August, 1939