Follow usTwitterFacebook


20 Oct 2015 News Vatican Comments (2)

Catholics lead calls for court to spare life of death-row inmate

A group of religious leaders have urged the Supreme Court to halt the execution of Rodricus Crawford in Louisiana More than 100 religious leaders-more than h…

Read more

24 Jul 2015 Articles Q&A Comments (1)

What is God like?

Every culture in the history of the world has had some concept of what God is like. Some have assumed that God is in control of the weather and have made images…

Read more

20 Oct 2015 Australia News No comments

New pastoral approach does not change doctrine, Australian archbishop says

Archbishop Mark Coleridge has called for 'a new kind of pastoral creativity' While Church doctrine must stay unchanged, an Australian archbishop has expresse…

Read more

10 Nov 2014 Articles Comments (1)

Jesus is Not the Property of Liberal Commentators

In a piece originally published onAlternet that has appeared this week on, Frank Schaeffer claims,“Conservative Christians would have hated Jesus.”It’…

Read more

12 Nov 2015 News Vatican No comments

Vatileak II: Investigation of the Journalists involved

Father Federico Lombardi, the director of the Vatican press office, have confirmed the authors of the book revealing contents of the Vatican’s leaked confidenti…

Read more

23 Jul 2015 Articles Resources No comments

Will Anglicans Cross Benedict’s Bridge?

Is this the end of a 500-year division that began with a king’s adultery? The announcement—made simultaneously in London and in Rome in October—of a dramati…

Read more

21 Oct 2014 Q&A Comments (12)

Is there anyone who we know for certain is in Hell?

Question: Is there anyone who we know is certainly in Hell? Answer: The Church makes it a point to pray for everyone in hope that the mercy of God reaches ea…

Read more

30 Nov 2014 Q&A No comments

Were Catholic doctrines such as purgatory and papal primacy really universal in the early Church?

Full Question Why does the Catholic Church claim (from Vatican I) that its doctrines can be verified by the "universal and unanimous consent of the Fathers…

Read more

04 Nov 2015 News USA Comments (1)

Derrick Yearout,a Homeless Man says "Trip to Rome has given him a new outlook on life".

An organization committed to providing awareness of people typically living on the streets in the Denver community and providing opportunities to serve them as …

Read more
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

Cloistered nuns bake Communion wafers for papal Mass in Philly

  • Written by:
  • 1 Reply

A group of cloistered nuns has been working overtime in the kitchen to help Philadelphia Church officials prepare for Pope Francis’ visit, baking 100,000 Communion hosts for his public Mass.

Religious sisters at the suburban Monastery of St. Clare put in extra shifts for about two months to fill the order, which represents a portion of the wafers that will be offered at the outdoor service on Sept. 27. Up to 1.5 million pilgrims are expected to attend.

“We’re very excited,” said Sister Anne Bartol. “It is a very special work for us, and we take very good care — extra care — with how we make them.”

As an enclosed community, the Roman Catholic nuns known as Poor Clares don’t leave the monastery except for medical reasons. They support themselves financially in part by making hosts, also called altar breads, for about 200 customers across the United States and Canada.

The three-hour baking sessions begin around 8:30 a.m. Flour and water are mixed into batter, which is then poured onto a griddle embossed with religious iconography. It bakes for a couple of minutes, emerging as a flat sheet stamped with designs.

After spending time in a humidifier to add moisture — otherwise the bread will shatter when cut — the sheets are placed in a machine that punches out dozens of disc-shaped wafers. The hosts are later inspected, counted, bagged, packaged, and sent.

Sisters usually make about 125,000 wafers per month using their immaculate and affectionately nicknamed ovens Raphael, Maddalena, Vincent, and Benny. (The humidifiers are Archangel and El Rey.) A bag of 500 small hosts costs about $5, plus shipping and handling.

It seems fitting the Poor Clares, an order founded more than 800 years ago, would be asked to help with the pontiff’s visit. St. Clare was the first female follower of St. Francis of Assisi, the namesake of Pope Francis.

Though some nuns dedicate their lives to active ministry and charity work, Poor Clares lead what is known as the contemplative life. The 13 sisters who reside at the monastery in Langhorne, about 20 miles northeast of Philadelphia, devote themselves to prayer.

Sister Jean Therese Rossignol entered the community two decades ago after having “always felt the desire to become a religious sister.” She had previously worked in the business office of a Maine newspaper and later looked into life as a missionary in Africa. While there, she felt called to return to the United States to live a contemplative life.

Yet the Poor Clares aren’t entirely secluded. They conduct business via email, maintain a website, and allow the public to visit their chapel. And the sisters say the Philadelphia archbishop has given them a temporary reprieve from their vow of enclosure, permitting them to attend the Mass where their bread will spiritually nourish the faithful.

“We’re very much looking forward to being there, to seeing (Pope Francis) in person, and to being together with everyone,” Rossignol said.


1 comment

  1. Franklin P. Uroda Reply

    In the Scriptures-and at Mass-Jesus is said to have taken “Bread” not a “Wafer”. Ugh, I dislike that term, especially when Protestants and other non-Roman Catholics refer to our receiving Holy Communion. I guess there’s a long liturgical history why the bread is shaped that way, but it bears no resemblance to what ordinary people refer to as “bread.” Yeah, I know It’s not ordinary Bread. IMO, the exegesis of the text where Jesus tells his disciples to pick up the fragments after He’s fed the multitude, does not refer to “reverence for the Sacred Species,” but an avoidance of waste.

Leave a Reply

  1. most read post
  2. Most Commented
  3. Choose Categories