Leona and Emily Walsh’s Cookies

Leona and Emily Walsh’s Cookies

2 egg whites 2/3 cup sugar 1 cup chopped pecans 1 cup chocolate bits 1 tsp vanilla Little salt

Beat egg whites until foamy, add sugar gradually and beat until stiff. Add pecans, chocolate bits, vanilla and salt. Spoon out on foil lined cookie sheet. Put in oven that has been preheated to 350 degrees. Turn oven off when you put cookies in. Leave in oven overnight. I don’t think these turned out exactly like they were supposed to but they were still delicious. You cannot go wrong with pecans and chocolate. My egg whites and sugar mixture didn’t get stiff enough for some reason. Please don’t let this deter you from trying these, you won’t be disappointed! - - - Sister Leona Walsh and Sister Emily Walsh

The authors of this week’s recipe were twins. When Sister Leona Walsh passed away in 2010, her obituary recorded the details of her childhood:

“Leona Marie Walsh entered this world 15 minutes after her identical twin sister, Sister Emily, on Sept. 21, 1930. The twins were born in Saginaw, Mich., to Charles and Frances (Wolfarth) Walsh. They had one older brother, Frank (RIP).

“Sadly, the twins’ mother passed away nine days after their birth. They grew up with the loving care of their father and were always grateful to their Aunt Leona for the help she gave them,” shared Sister Jenny.

Sister Leona attended grade school at Emerson and St. Mary in Saginaw. She graduated from St. Mary High School, also in Saginaw. After earning a bachelor’s degree in French from Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College, she entered the Congregation Feb. 14, 1953, and received the religious name Sister Mary Charlene. Sister Leona professed first and perpetual vows Aug. 15, 1955, and 1960, respectively. She later earned a master’s degree in library science from Catherine Spalding College, Louisville, Ky.”

Sister Leona’s twin, Sister Emily Walsh, passed away last month. Her obituary notes:

“Sister Emily Walsh died on Jan. 26, 2021 in Mother Theodore Hall, St. Mary-of-the-Woods. She was born in Saginaw, MI, on Sept. 21, 1930 to Charles and Frances Wolfarth Walsh and was baptized Mary Emily. Sister Emily entered the Congregation of the Sisters of Providence on July 22, 1953 and was given the name Sister Mary Francine. She professed Final Vows Jan. 23, 1960. She earned a bachelor's degree from St. Mary-of-the-Woods College and a master's degree in library science from Catherine Spalding University”

Although their careers in education would take slightly different paths, they were together more than apart. Again, we quote from Sister Leona’s obituary:

“Sister Leona was hired as the periodicals librarian and began work for her new boss … Sister Emily! For the next 25 years, Sister Leona ministered as cataloguer in the college library, taking on the daunting task of putting all of the library holdings online — an undertaking that took at least four years to complete. In the summer of 2002, at the time of her retirement, Sister Leona was awarded Faculty Emerita Status for her long and distinguished service at the college,” said Sister Jenny.” “Upon her retirement from the college, Sister Leona kept busy volunteering in various offices at the motherhouse.”

“Over the years, people have admitted that it is sometimes difficult to tell Sisters Leona and Emily apart. One sister who lives with them at the Woodland Inn explained, ‘actually, it’s really simple — just watch which one walks with her hands behind her back. That’s Sister Leona!’ said Sister Jenny.” Sister Leona and Sister Jenny’s family on their mother’s side, the Wolfarth family, owned and operated a large bakery. While the history of this business is another story – and an another recipe, one cannot help but find sound advice about recipes in a description of the business in James C. Mills’


History of Saginaw County:

“The philosophy of baking, it seems, is understood by few housewives. Most women follow the same process as was employed by their mothers, with no scientific knowledge of the causes that produce effects. Of the reciprocal relations of the various ingredients that compose good bread they know little, and success and failure in baking is generally ascribed to good or bad luck.” “It is entirely different, however, with the Wolfarth bakers. With the aid of chemistry and scientific skill, they have gone to the bottom of things; they have limited many useless practices and adopted improved methods so that the whole process is carried on with a degree of ability that practically admits of no error.”