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Hollywood nuns can soon get back to baking their pumpkin bread

April 23, 2009 |  3:56 pm


Nuns at a Hollywood monastery known for its pumpkin bread turned up the heat when their oven conked out last week. They posted a “No Pumpkin Bread” sign in their Gower Street retreat's gift shop, where they sell the $9 loaves, and stepped up their prayers.

As reported earlier this month by The Times, increased pumpkin bread sales have been viewed by monastery supporters as a way of coping with a more than 70% drop in long-term investment interest revenues used for the retreat’s $1.2-million operating budget. The kitchen equipment failure was the second setback for the 20 cloistered nuns.

Days before that, a Hollywood activist who had been spearheading a save-the-monastery financial campaign suffered a stroke. Norma Foster is now recovering in a Northridge hospital, according to leaders of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce.

Now an anonymous donor has purchased a new $30,000 commercial-grade oven for the nuns' pumpkin bread work, said Los Angeles City Councilman Tom LaBonge.

"I'm so happy to hear that the nuns' prayers have been answered," said LaBonge, who represents the Hollywood area and purchases loaves of the spicy bread by the dozen to present to people being honored by the city. He said the replacement oven will probably be fired up in a week or so.

Sister Mary Raymond, the monastery's prioress, said the nuns will be glad to start baking again. They produce about 18,000 loaves of pumpkin bread each year.

 "People are hurting all over because of the economy, but they've come through for us," she said.

 --Bob Pool 

Photo: Nuns at the Monastery of the Angels in Hollywood at prayer. Credit: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times


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