“The Body of Christ” is a phrase Roman Catholics are familiar with when receiving Holy Communion. We do not question the host’s provenance but accept it for what it is after the transubstantiation.
Communion hosts do not ‘just happen’, they are produced by someone, somewhere. And that ‘someone’ has traditionally been nuns as part of their ora et labora (pray and work) ethic.
Nowadays, only two convents manufacture hosts in Malta – the Missionary Sisters of Jesus of Nazareth at their Żejtun mother house and the Franciscan Sisters of the Heart of Jesus at their convent in Msida.
The Missionary Sisters have been producing hosts – from the Latin hostia, meaning sacrificial victim – for some 70 years, while the Franciscans have been at it since the early 1970s.
Regardless of which order wins the longevity race, the manufacturing process is identical and amazingly simple. Sift fine wheat flour, 600gms according to the Missionary Sisters’ recipe, and whisk it in 900ml of cold water until a pancake-like batter is formed. The Church requires that its communion bread be unleavened. (The nuns of both orders make several batches of the mixture on production days.)
The mixture is then…