Mon 17 May, 2010
Tags: Altar Breads, Eucharist, Low-gluten
Our lives have been in transition these past few weeks, bringing with it exhaustive preparation, working and sleeping in new places and – yes – more than a little stress. However, something always happens that brings a smile to our faces and reminds us of all the blessings our Lord has given us.
We received an e-mail from a grateful mother whose daughter recently celebrated her First Communion thanks to our low-gluten altar breads. It is stories like these and smiles like Uriel’s that help us realize our ministry is a special one.
Uriel was just a baby when her family first visited our monastery in Tucson, Ariz.
“We had a meal with the Sisters, and she had her first taste of ice cream then,” recalled her mother, Sonya. “That was before we learned we had Celiac disease.”
Celiac Sprue Disease is an autoimmune disease that involves the inability to eat foods with gluten, a name for proteins found in wheat and related grains such as rye and barley. It involves a major lifestyle change in that certain foods must be cut from the diet or else a toxic reaction can occur in the small intestine. Gluten is often found in bread, pizza, cookies, ice cream…and altar breads.
With a rising number of people being diagnosed with Celiac Sprue Disease, it means they cannot tolerate communion hosts made of wheat without becoming sick. In the past, they could either take the host and get sick, bypass the host and only take the wine or skip the Eucharist completely.
Thanks to the Benedictine Sisters’ invention of low-gluten breads in 2004, Celiac Sprue Disease sufferers have another option. There is enough gluten in the Sisters’ breads to satisfy the Church’s cannon law, but not enough to cause sickness in a majority of those with a wheat intolerance.
The low-gluten altar breads recently allowed young Uriel to celebrate her First Communion a few years after that first meeting with the Benedictine Sisters.
“She carried her pix and the special low-gluten altar breads in it for communion,” her mother said. “I was very worried about how we would manage it, but everything went smoothly. It was a wonderful and positive experience for our daughter.”
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