The Hustle has a fascinating story about how nuns around the country, who used to be responsible for making tens of millions of communion wafers each year for use in the Catholic mass, have been virtually put out of business:
"Communion wafers used to be almost entirely produced by nuns running small-scale operations … They provided an integral role in developing a product that they, along with the rest of the Roman Catholic Church, believe is turned into the literal body of Christ at mass.
"But today it’s a different story.
"Now, almost every communion wafer comes from the for-profit Cavanagh Company, the United States’ altar bread monopoly."
The irony is that Cavanagh originally got into business by manufacturing equipment that nuns used to make the wafers … and while it said it had no interest in competing with the nuns, that's exactly what it did, by developing more complicated equipment that allowed it to develop and sell wafers that were superior in quality, better tasting, and lower priced.
There's also another intriguing plot twist - a group of Benedictine Sisters who decided not to bow to the competitive challenge, and actually got aggressive as they worked to maintain market share. (They even created a gluten-free wafer.) Which worked for a time, until the pandemic created another series of soul-crushing challenges.
You can read the entire piece here.
- KC's View:
All I say say is: Dominus Vobiscum … Et cum spiritu tuo.