Andrew LaVallee, Founder
Since 1969, Andy LaVallee, has been working in the bakery industry and in 1977, he started LaVallee’s Bakery Distributors. LaVallee’s is New England’s premier provider of artisan breads and other bakery offerings to clients such as the InterContinental Boston, the Four Seasons, Boston College, and the Chateau Restaurants.
LaVallee’s is known by their customers and colleagues for their excellent product mix, legendary customer service and business model based on servant leadership. With LaVallee’s Fasting Breads, Andy brings his knowledge of top-end, highly-nutritious artisan breads and applies them to the ancient practice of prayer and fasting. He and his team desire to spread this practice — so beneficial on a number of levels — to greater New England and across the United States.
In recent years, during trips to Medjugorje, Andy grew to a deeper understanding of the practice of prayer and fasting, a practice that is common in this small village. He realized that he had a unique role, perhaps even a duty, to provide high quality breads to those in America who were interested in prayer and fasting. Andy has consulted with Sister Emmanuel Maillard who wrote “Freed and Healed by Fasting,” Fr. Charles Murphy author of “The Spirituality of Fasting” and others knowledgeable about the practices of a healthy fast and the ingredients of a fasting bread. He has also steeped himself in the teachings of the late Father Slavko Barbaric, who integrated into his many noble works, was his role as a humble practitioner and educator of prayer and fasting.
In Lent of 2012, we had a strong response to our initial Live the Fast program. We gave out complimentary fasting breads and resources to many people who committed to stepping up their fasting during Lent. Our testimonials page features some of this feedback. Following this time, we decided to promote prayer and fasting throughout the year and launched our online service in November, in time for Advent. We have selected some truly noteworthy breads and rolls for this endeavor. These breads are made with unbleached and untreated flour, with no additives and preservatives and with a variety of flavorful, nourishing ingredients that will help one maintain and finish a bread and water fast.
Along with our educational resources, and opportunities to build community, we are excited to invite you to Live the Fast!
Andy has written a book titled “From the Hub to the Heart” – learn more about it here!
Ellen Gable Hrkach, Marketing Director
Ellen is an award-winning Catholic author, editor, book coach and publisher of Catholic fiction. She edited Andy’s book, From the Hub to the Heart, and is past president of the international Catholic Writers Guild.
Married since 1982, Ellen and her husband are the parents of five young adult sons ages 18 to 30. Ellen is active in her parish as lector. She and her husband are certified Natural Family Planning teachers (since 1984) and have been trained in St. John Paul II’s Theology of the Body. They have also been involved in organizing and teaching marriage preparation courses all over Ontario (since 1983).
Ellen is a frequent speaker at Catholic conferences on the topics of Theology of the Body, Catholic Fiction and Miscarriage/Baby Loss. She blogs at www.ellengable.com and is an active member of the Catholic Writers Guild. Ellen has recently published her eighth book, Julia’s Gifts.
Ellen has been a member of the Live the Fast team for two and a half years.
Iona Pasqual, Operations Manager
Iona and her husband married in December, 1970. They have two children and four grandchildren. She had her own home-based party-plan business for 23 years while their children were growing up. In 2005, she returned to the business world as administrative assistant and operations manager. She recently retired and welcomed the opportunity to work at Live the Fast in July to help support and promote something she is very passionate about: prayer and fasting. Iona has been praying and fasting as a member of the LTF community since 2012.
Iona grew up in the Lutheran faith and has always loved being involved in church and sharing her faith. She became a Catholic at the age of 20. In 1986, she was asked to be on an RCIA team, where she has learned and grown as a Catholic ever since.
She co-ordinated and facilitated the AllHeartsAFire Parish-Based program by Father Michael Gaitley, MIC at her parish. She is moderator of a daily conference call reading and studying Catholic books by Matthew Kelley, Fr. Michael Gaitley, and Fr. Donald Callaway with several of her Catholic friends. Since her retirement, the book group started saying the Fasting Rosary Meditations from Fast With the Heart right after the book study on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. Iona was instrumental in getting people interested in doing the Fasting Chaplet on fasting days which is now prayed after the Rosary on Wednesdays and Fridays. Because Iona loves studying the Catechism of the Catholic Church, she became the facilitator of a Wednesday night conference call which is recorded and part of CelebrateMyCatholicFaith.weebly.com Catholic phone bridge group.