Eating a Modern Franciscan Jubilee Tradition

Paul Keggington

June 27, 2010

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A daughter of a baker, Sister Virgine Van Thull, OSF, watched the fine art of bakery as a child. Later in Community, she was encouraged to develop a natural talent for decorating tier cakes. Sunday, June 27, 2010, she completed her 23rd year of frosting and adorning  Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity jubilee cakes with the support and help of others.

Our Franciscan Sisters who were the honored recipients of a rose-adorned ceremonial cake were:

50 years

Sister Antonice Lauer, Sister Margey Schmelzle, Sister Ann Mary Hart, Sister Emy Beth Furrer, Sister Rosita Bunge, Sister Mary Victoria Koenig, Sister Marcolette Madden

25 years

Sister Dora Lee Monian, Sister Carol Ann Gambsky

Franciscan Jubilee Cake

Sister Virgine Van Thull, OSF with the help of others decorated this beautiful tier cake for the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity celebrating their 25 and 50 years of profession.

At one time a Motherhouse  kitchen employee used her own  supplies from home to decorate cakes marking the Sisters’ anniversaries.  When Sister Virgine was asked to begin the task, turntables, cake stands, decorating tips and couplers were  purchased and soon became familiar convent bakery tools.

There are probably many reasons why we didn’t always have cakes to celebrate jubilees in the early years of our community. (Food channels were unheard of.) Here’s some ‘cake’ trivia that when mixed together might give further explanation:

  • The terms “bread” and “cake” are of Anglo Saxon origin, and it’s probable that the term cake was first used for smaller breads. Cake really developed from sweetened bread.
  • Yeast was used in bread making. When beaten eggs proved to be a raising agent, yeast fell  into disuse increasing the possibilityof  more creative ‘cake’ recipes.
  • By the early 19th century current day leavening agents, such as baking soda and baking powder were introduced. Specialty cakes  multiplied.
  • Accurate temperature controlled ovens also increased positive results and further experimenting  in cake making.

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