HARD times in America have hit a community of wafer-making Benedictine nuns in Missouri.
For SO years the Sisters of Perpetual Adoration in Clyde, northern Missouri, have been baking communion hosts as their only means of financial support.
But with the recession has come an icy blast of competition. and now the nuns' customers are deserting them for manufacturers of "thicker breads".
"What bothers me most about this is that all breads are equal at the table of the Lord," said Sr Cathleen Timberlake. chief of the community's altar bread department.
Fearing the demise of their livelihood, the sisters have decided to set up an Association of Religious Producers of Altar Breads. Their campaign has won the support of Cardinal Bernard Law of Boston. who has promised to help the nuns beat off the challenge from hi-tech commercial bakers.
The nuns annually supply two million wafers to church users.