From the Archives: The cake that changed the Temple at Manresa, Roehampton...

POST BY Ruth

Black and white photograph of five Jesuits in chef whites around a large cake
St Alphonsus Day 1922, Manresa

Black and white photograph of temple with Our Lady statue on top of domeWorking on our photographic collection in the Jesuits in Britain Archives, I came across an interesting story of how a cake has changed a Temple!  It all began when I tried to date a photograph showing Br Laurence O’Hara SJ and four novices in Manresa, Roehampton with a rather fancy cake.*  I found an article written by Br O’Hara SJ in Letters and Notices about the event. 

From this I learnt that in 1904 the Jubilee of the Definition of the Immaculate Conception was being celebrated and the cook, Br Thomas Meynell SJ, made a cake in the shape of the Temple.  But he added the figure of our Lady to mark the occasion.  When the Rector, Fr Daniel Considine SJ, saw the statue on the dome of the cake, he had one made for the Temple dome in the grounds.  In 1922, Br O’Hara SJ worked in the kitchen at Manresa and repeated the same cake for St Alphonsus day.

The photograph shows clockwise from bottom left: Br Francis Clarke SJ, Br James McGuigan SJ, Br Laurence O'Hara SJ, a sadly unknown person (if anyone recognises him please could you let us know. Thank you.) and Br Ignatius Henry SJ.

*From the 1860’s until its closure in 1962, Manresa was a house for novices and juniors and during the 1950s housed Jesuits training to be teachers.

By Mihaela Repina, Assistant Archivist