IT IS 9 A.M. on a recent Thursday, and seven frail workers file into a chilly, fluorescent-lit room to begin their daily work.
Until noon, they will mix batter, work with a scalding- hot bread iron, or sit for hours on end, silently counting hundreds of tiny baked products with aging hands, depositing them in decades-old shoe boxes.
The women will work without a break. Most are in their late 70s, some in their 80s.
They aren’t paid a salary, and they are rarely ever seen in public.
Yet they smile as they scuttle around the outdated room crowded with old wooden school desks that serve as work tables, and push-pedal baking equipment that hasn’t been updated since the 1950s.
They are doing God’s work.
For decades, these same seven Poor Clare sisters, cloistered in the hushed grounds of the Monastery of Saint Clare near Langhorne, Bucks County, have been working side by side to make the tens of thousands of communion wafers used each year by churches, hospitals and nursing homes up and down the East Coast – and around the country.
The Franciscan order sisters don aprons over their beige habits five days a week to bake, a labor of love that earns not even a quarter of the money they need to live, eat and maintain the monastery. They depend on additional donations from the public to make ends meet.
The sisters have learned to talk about "clients," "accounts" and "rush deliveries." They know what time the UPS man comes every day. They track their inventory by computer. Their screen saver? It’s more of a screen Savior: Christ’s portrait. [Source]