Missionary Sending

How an Italian Teenager’s Love for the Eucharist Transformed a 50th Wedding Anniversary Road Trip

34 parishes, 23 schools and seminaries, 18 dioceses, 19,000 people, 25,000 miles. This is the journey of Peg and Bill White of Pensacola, Florida, who since December 2019 have dedicated their lives to bringing the faith-stirring Vatican International Exhibition of Eucharistic Miracles of the World to parishes and schools around the country.

The Exhibition presents some of the principal Eucharistic Miracles that have taken place throughout the ages in various countries of the world and which have been recognized by the Church. The oldest Eucharistic Miracle depicted in the Exhibition is from Lanciano, Italy, in the 700s. A certain monk who was plagued by doubts about transubstantiation was celebrating Mass. At the words of consecration, the host was miraculously changed into flesh and the wine into blood. This is the first documented Eucharistic Miracle. The most recent Eucharistic Miracles in the Exhibit occurred in 2008 and 2013 in Poland.

I sat down with Peg and Bill to learn more about their incredible story and their even more incredible faith in the Eucharist.

A Miraculous Eucharistic Encounter

“It’s been quite a journey,” Peg started, “and one that’s taken us quite by surprise.”

It all began several years ago when they learned about some of the Eucharistic Miracles that are part of the Vatican Exhibition.

“Not long after, while we vacationed in Europe, we took the opportunity to actually visit the sites where three of these Eucharistic miracles had occurred. We were blessed with the chance to venerate the relics of these miracles in Lanciano and Cascia, Italy, and Bruges, Belgium,” Bill said.

“I was blown away,” Peg added, “particularly by the profound experience of the relic of the Eucharistic miracle that occurred at Lanciano in 750 A.D. Seeing this miracle up close made me understand just how fascinating and loving our God is who wants us to know him. It suddenly became clear to me to what lengths God has gone to confirm for us just how true are his words at the Last Supper: ‘This is my Body!’ ‘This is my Blood!’”

Bill reflected, “I find it astounding that the same God who created the stars in the universe and the sands on the shore wants to have a relationship with me. And even more than that, the Lord provides in the Eucharist an incomparable way for that relationship to unfold! By eating the Body and drinking the Blood of Christ in the Eucharist, we become united to the person of Christ through his humanity.”

Bill and Peg White with the Eucharistic Miracle of Ludbreg poster

When the Whites returned home from Europe, their plan had been to take a road trip to celebrate their fiftieth wedding anniversary. At that point, instead, they knew they absolutely had to do something with the gift they had been given at Lanciano. After a little bit of research, they discovered that the posters for the Vatican’s Eucharistic Exhibition were locally available. So they went to personally view the Exhibition, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Called to Share the Eucharistic Miracles

“We felt this strong call to transform our celebratory road trip into an evangelizing journey and to bring the posters of the Vatican International Exhibition to parishes and schools and organizations around the country. We wanted others to be able to receive the gift that we had been given. It was like God said to us, ‘Sure, go ahead and take your trip. But take the Exhibition along with you!’

“Since then, we haven’t stopped, and it’s become a full-time project. Our aim is to help deepen the faith of all the visitors in Jesus’ astounding gift of his Real Presence—Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity—in the Eucharist, just as he promised,” Peg and Bill reflected.

The Whites are personally invested in every aspect of the Eucharistic Miracles Exhibition when they bring it to a group. They work with the local point persons for planning, setup, and onsite hosting. “But while the exhibit is about miracles that happened in history in countries far away and to unknown people,” explain the Whites, “we share with those who come to view the exhibit our own faith in the great and primary Eucharistic miracle that happens at every Mass and the tremendous gift we have been given in the Eucharist.”

Bill White speaks to Catholic children about Eucharistic miracles

They add, “We have been so richly rewarded for our efforts. Our favorite group to take on a tour through the Exhibition is a group of school children. It is amazing to see their absolute joy when they learn about the Eucharistic miracles. They can hardly believe it, yet sometimes they have such profound insight. One second grade boy said, ‘I know how it happens. All things are possible with God.’”

The Story Behind the Eucharistic Miracles Exhibit

While the powerful stories about the miracles are foundational to the Exhibit, the story about how the Exhibit itself came to be is also noteworthy.

The Exhibit is the legacy of Blessed Carlo Acutis, an English-born Italian Catholic boy who documented Eucharistic miracles around the world, cataloging them onto a website. Carlo Acutis is remembered by his parents and friends for his cheerfulness, his deep devotion to the Eucharist, and his computer skills. His love for the Eucharist became a core theme of his life. Carlo died of leukemia when he was only fifteen years old. He was beatified on October 10, 2020, two days after the 14th anniversary of his death.

The Servants of the Pierced Hearts of Jesus and Mary located in Miami, Florida, have been instrumental in building awareness and devotion to Blessed Carlo Acutis. They are a congregation of sisters, brothers, and priests dedicated to evangelization and formation of the human heart to build a new civilization of love, life, truth, and solidarity.

I spoke with Sr. Alexia, SCTJM, who explained to me how the Servants developed their close relationship with Blessed Carlo. “Shortly after Carlo Acutis’ death, our Mother Foundress, Mother Adela Galindo from the Archdiocese of Miami, came to know of him and his profound devotion to the Eucharist and the Rosary. As she learned more about his life of virtue, devotion to the Eucharist, and the work he had done in cataloging Eucharistic miracles and making them available online, Mother Adela began seeking ways to spread his inspiring story to as many people as possible, but especially to the sick and young people. She began by translating the official holy card of then Venerable Carlo from Italian to English and Spanish so that devotion could spread to more countries worldwide.”

Priest holding a monstrance with the Eucharist, with a statue of Bl. Carlo Acutis behind him

Spreading the Devotion of Blessed Carlo Acutis

Mother Adela, she went on to say, was inspired in prayer by Blessed Carlo to have a life-size statue made in Italy which is an exact replica of his person. This statue was brought to the US in April 2022 and is now in their Motherhouse “Two Hearts” chapel in Miami, where countless numbers of sick children, young people, and adults come to pray before the Blessed Sacrament and venerate Carlo’s first-class relic, asking for his intercession.

“Our community is very active in spreading his devotion, particularly in our work with young people. In January 2023, the brothers and priests launched ‘Camp Carlo’ for boys: a one-day adventure for teens to discover their highway to heaven.

“In these past few years, we have seen many who have turned to the intercession of Blessed Carlo,” Sr. Alexia adds, “and there have been instances of unexplained healings and cures.”

In addition, Mother Adela launched “Acutis Fashion,” featuring a Bl. Carlo Acutis Polo Shirt. The colors of the polo shirt made by the sisters match the shirt Carlo is wearing in his most popular photo, and it carries his message: “The Eucharist is my highway to heaven.”

Religious sister at the tomb of Bl. Carlo Acutis

“Hundreds of young people have obtained this shirt,” Sr. Alexia commented. “We feel it is a way of building through fashion a Eucharistic culture among young people.”

Father Michael Grisolano, pastor of St. Elizabeth of the Trinity Parish, Chicago, hosted the Vatican Eucharistic Miracles Exhibition in October 2022 and affirms the clear connection between the Eucharistic Miracles Exhibit that Blessed Carlo initiated and the National Eucharistic Revival.

“The Eucharistic Miracles Exhibition makes clear that God has blessed us repeatedly in history and throughout the world with miraculous signs that remind us that Jesus Christ is really present under the appearance of bread and wine through the Eucharist,” he says. “The Eucharist truly fulfills the promise Jesus made: ‘I will be with you always, until the end of the world.’”

Adds Grisolano, “This Exhibit can strengthen our faith and help us learn to be more present to the Real Presence.”

Keep exploring:

• Carlos Acutis’ website (English)

• The website about the Eucharistic Miracles of the World—International Vatican Exhibition

• Where to purchase a Bl. Carlo Acutis Polo Shirt

• Mother Adela’s website for Beato Carlo Acutis (Spanish)