Picture courtesy of St. Bede
Today, Fr. Finegan posted on the care of altar linens.
Washing altar linens
I had a request from DilexitPrior for information on washing altar linens. I thought it was worth a post because of the good links that people often give in the comment box. I don't consider myself an expert so if you have further advice or any useful links, please do chip in.
For purificators and corporals, the precaution is taken of washing them first in water and then pouring the water into the sacrarium or into the earth. The reason is that if there should be any particles of the sacred host or drops of the precious blood on either, they are not just poured into the sewer. It would be sufficient to put the items into a bowl of water for a while before squeezing them out and disposing of the water. Then they can be washed in the usual way either by hand or in a washing machine. (The finger towels can just be washed in the normal way.)
Well, today before Mass I was reading from 201 Inspirational Stories of the Eucharist by Sr. Patricia Proctor, OSC. Most of the stories in the book are very interesting as you can imagine. However, one story in particular caught my eye.
It was a story about an intern working on her certification as a lab tech. She tells that as she did her rotations in each department, distilled water was found on the countertops. Apparently, distilled water caused the red blood cells to burst so that the stain broke up quickly.
After her internship was over, she was called to enter the convent and she was soon assigned to the laundry. During the course of her duties, she was responsible for the laundry of the sisters, the sacristy, kitchen as well as other parts of the monastery.
Of course, the sacristy linens, which are the corporal, the purificators, the finger towel, the alb as well as the altar linen itself, were washed separately from the rest because they come in contact with the Consecrated Host and the Precious Blood. As Fr. Finegan explains, there are certain ways of cleaning them.
She explained how she carefully looked for what appeared to be wine stains on the linens, . However, she did not treat the stains like you would treat wine stains. Instead, she used distilled water on those stains.
Well, those stains responded quite well to the distilled water she used to treat those particular stains. After all, after the Consecration, that is exactly what the wine becomes...the Precious Blood of our Lord.
The story is entitled: Faith and Science Do Mix and it was written by Sister Coleen Byrne, OSC.