Nuns Make Altar Breads for Papal Mass

The papal visit is very special for Catholics across our nation and for one local group of nuns it means a rare outing.

FOX 29 Photojournalist Bill Rohrer has the story.

The Poor Clares of the Franciscan Monastery of Saint Clare in Langhorne are hard at work.

The Monastery of cloistered nuns has been asked to make a 100,000 breads for the 1.2 million people expected to participate in the Papal mass this weekend.

"In order to do that 2 or 3 days a week we had to double our capacity, we cut twice as many breads and that bumped up our average to ten thousand a day," Sister Anne Bartol told FOX 29.

And the bread-making process is not a simple one. First, each bread is pressed into sheets on their 40-year old stoves.

"The temperature outside can also affect our cooking," Sr. Anne Bartol says.

They are steamed in front before they are cut in half. Then, each quarter-sized bread is checked by hand before they are packed up for delivery.

"We take a lot of pride in our breads. It is so important because they take the body and blood of Christ and we want the priest and the people to see them. We want them to know they are the most beautiful we can make them," Sr. Anne Bartol says. "It is really kind of an art for us."

The Poor Clare sisters use the alter breads to support their life in prayer.

They distribute primarily within the Philadelphia Archdiocese--with 10 percent going all over the country.

"This is a once and a life time opportunity, not for us to go, but the fact that he is here in Philadelphia. You can just feel the energy and the good will that is coming from that," Bartol said.