This year, Christmas cheer came a little early to the Archives. In March, I found material from the Maryknoll Sisters’ Candy Department. In the 1930s and 1940s, the Novices at the Motherhouse made and sold homemade candy, cakes, and other sweet treats to help support the missions. For Christmas, the Novices created a special menu. You could buy anything from fudge and caramels to cookies and jellies, all wrapped in festive boxes delivered in time for the holiday.
This menu from 1939, “A Sweet Thought at Christmas”, epitomizes the Maryknoll Sisters’ Christmas spirit and sense of fun. Reading this menu reminded me of happy times spent with my own family at Christmas. Every year, we ate cookies and candy while opening presents – although we never had anything as fancy as a yule log! I hope that when these treats were made, the Novices enjoyed a similar feeling of family at Maryknoll. Over the years, the Sisters continued to enjoy the Christmas season with memorable meals, Christmas cards, and celebrations. They knew the value of making Christmas special and homey, from the Motherhouse to the far-flung missions.