Sisters of Good Shepherd Baking the Bread
Photo provided by: 
Elyse Rethlake

Baking the Bread to Become the Body

Where Does Altar Bread Come From?  

The Eucharist is a cornerstone of living out the Catholic faith. Every time a Catholic goes to Mass, he or she has the opportunity to encounter Christ in the Eucharist and contemplate the mystery of faith. For such a fundamental part of our shared spiritual tradition, we may have never stopped to wonder where the bread that becomes the Body of Christ is made.

Until recently, The Basilica of Saint Mary received its altar bread from the Contemplative Sisters of the Good Shepherd, an order of nuns in Saint Paul. The Sisters recently discerned that they will discontinue their altar bread ministry because of the advanced age of their sisters. The Basilica received their last shipment of 30,000 hosts from the Sisters in early January and will now look for a new source.

Altar bread is different than bread or crackers at the grocery store. It must be made with wheat and water and without any additives, said Johan van Parys, Director of Liturgy and Sacred Arts at The Basilica. Though it’s not required, hosts are typically made by religious communities like the Sisters of the Good Shepherd.

This article and more in the spring BASILICA Magazine.

Download full article Baking the Bread to Become the Body

by Rachel Newman


The award-winning BASILICA magazine is sponsored by The Basilica Landmark, a 501(c)(3) organization with a mission to preserve, restore, and advance the historic Basilica of Saint Mary for all generations. 

BASILICA is published twice a year (spring and fall) with a circulation of 20,000. 

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