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1/24/2014 12:29:00 PM
'In the likeness of bread'
Carmelite nuns are regional distributors of Communion wafers that will be consecrated as Body of Christ
Catholic Sentinel photo by Bill Kunkle
Sister Juana Maria shows bag of altar bread.
Catholic Sentinel photo by Bill Kunkle
Sister Juana Maria shows bag of altar bread.
Bill Kunkle

EUGENE — When locals talk about the Sisters of Carmel of Maria Regina, they think of a place of quiet prayer, and the women who pray. Located in a wooded enclave near Eugene, the carmel, or monastery, is home to seven Carmelite nuns.

They are certainly women of prayer, but much more, too. One of their identities is as distributor of altar bread to parishes in Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Idaho and northern California.

The unleavened wafers are no longer made here, but by Benedictine Sisters in Missouri. All of the Carmelites' bread-making equipment was donated to a mission in Korea.

The Sisters here receive a shipment of bread every month consisting of 16 boxes of unconsecrated Communion wafers. Each box holds 22,000. The hosts then are sent to the parishes. St. Helen in Junction City, for example, gets three bags of 500 every month.

Sisters Elizabeth and Juana Maria took time from their life of prayer and work to explain the procedure. Sister Juana Maria is the spokeswoman. A member of the community for 16 years, she is an example of the way God gives gifts.

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