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By Rachel Daly
Contributing Writer

Never have I known anyone quite like my roommate Gretchen. We met as hallmates in Theresa Hall, the dorm building at my college known for warmth and community. Gretchen was a tall figure, often seen wearing a billowing skirt and breezing about the dorm kitchen. She was responsible for the delicious smells that wafted down the hallway and for bringing warm cookies from room to room just when you needed them most. My favorites were her oatmeal ones—cooked to perfection with just the right amount of chewiness. She often served up a complimentary backrub if you were looking particularly stressed, which for me seemed to happen a lot.

Gretchen wasn’t especially outgoing, but her baking was her gift, and it no doubt brought people together. Which is why it was such a shame when the building we moved into this year didn’t have an oven. However, that didn’t stop Gretchen. She founded a baking club, received school funding, and got permission to use the campus ministry ovens.

Shortly afterward, the club was asked to provide twenty-four cakes for Family Day, a carnival our school puts on annually as part of our Charity Week. The proceeds were to go to two pro-life charities in Dallas. Never one to turn down a cause like that, Gretchen accepted.

It was only afterward that she found out that one of the campus ministry ovens was broken, and she didn’t have pans, plates to put the cakes on, a place to store them, or a car to go buy ingredients. Twenty-four cakes is an awful lot of cakes to pull out of thin air.

Well, somehow Gretchen pulled everything together and made it happen. The first two nights of baking, not many members of the baking club were able to be there, so I went over to lend a hand. We made seven cakes the first night and seven the second, and though we hadn’t even gotten to the frosting yet, already it seemed like a huge endeavor.

The next day was Saturday, the day before the carnival, and the rest of the baking club could then join her, so I retreated to our room to work on some homework. I saw Gretchen only briefly throughout the day, and as the time grew later, she grew more and more stressed, although she scarcely showed it. At last, around nine o’clock, the baking was done, and they could begin the frosting. There were six cans of frosting, and Gretchen said to me, “If there isn’t enough frosting, I’m going to cry.” Half an hour later, she texted me to tell me they were ten cakes in and almost out of frosting. I felt horrible for her.

Some time passed, and I finally decided to swing down to the lounge where they were working on the cakes to see how bad it was. When I got down there, however, instead of the frenzy I was expecting, everyone was smiling. “The frosting held out!” someone said. “We have twenty-eight cakes, and we didn’t run out!” Sure enough, I watched with my own eyes as they consolidated what remained of the frosting, and there was over half a can left over. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. It was the loaves and the fishes—or rather the frosting!

Was it a miracle what happened that night? We like to think so. But more importantly, I think it was an affirmation that if you are called upon to give of yourself and you say yes in faith, God will supply all the grace you need, and then some.

Gretchen, like our mother Mary, agreed to something without knowing how it could possibly work out, and extraordinary things resulted. It was truly an incredible witness, and the kind of thing that inspires me to say yes to God all over again every time I get up in the morning.

God has so much good, so much grace in store for us if only we put ourselves at His disposal. Let us be unafraid to step out and embrace all to which He has challenged us, with the faith that He will provide an abundance of grace to enable us to get the job done.

Rachel Daly, front right, graduate of Seton Catholic Central in Plattsburgh and now a sophomore at the University of Dallas, and her friends display eight of their 24 “miracle cakes.”

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