Revival Stories

June’s Journey: Why a 79-Year-Old Is Attending the Congress

After many adventures, including that of raising a family and overcoming the loss of her beloved husband, June Persicketti is ready for the next one: the National Eucharistic Congress in Indianapolis! She’s going with her sisters Diane and Marcy, their respective husbands Fred and John, and a few other friends from St. Mary of the Nativity Parish in Joliet, IL—and she’s the oldest at 79!

“My younger sister and her husband decided first that they were going to go,” June said, “and then we oldsters said, well, we’re going because we’ve been in this for a long time. Why would we miss it?”

Inundated with Joy

By “this” June means her Catholic faith, in which she was born and raised. Three of her aunts served as missionaries or as consecrated religious sisters, and a religious sister played a huge part in June’s preparation for her First Holy Communion. She recalled the day like it was yesterday, and she still gets a tenderness in her voice when speaking about the Eucharistic Lord.

“I go to Mass almost every day now so that I can receive him,” she reflected, “my strength comes from surrendering all to him. Even if things go wrong, he’ll make it right and the way he wants it to be. I know he will because he’s done that, over and over again, in my life and in other people’s lives.”

Catholic priest placing a consecrated host in an elderly woman’s mouth during Communion at Mass.

June married her late husband Robert in 1965. Together they raised and catechized four children. She ensured each received their Sacraments on time and spent her daily prayers interceding for her children, her husband, and her extended family far and wide. Looking back, June wishes she had relied even more on God, but she still diligently maintained a conversation with God through thick and thin over the years. Life was inundated with joy for June, all the way up until 2013.

A Sign in Trying Times

It was in 2013 that she began to learn a new meaning of surrender to her Eucharistic Lord: Robert fell ill and was given three years to live. The couple said their goodbyes together in the Mass each week, during his dialysis appointments, and with their children. “We considered it a blessing, really. We got to prepare ourselves to be apart for three years.”

A difficult week of their journey through Robert’s illness had June asking for a sign during a thunderstorm-laden Mass. “I know we’re not supposed to ask,” she remembered, “but I asked God anyway: ‘if there’s any way you could let me know you’re here with us in this difficult time, I want to see it.’”

Amid the storm, a single sliver of light beamed into the church as the priest raised the Eucharist during the Consecration. The light vanished behind the clouds when the priest returned it to the altar. June saw the same stream of light bathe the Precious Blood in the chalice just moments later, and she was brought to tears.  “My husband asked me why I was crying, and I realized no one saw but me! The priest, Fr. Michael, asked me why I was crying after Mass, too, and I said, ‘You’re not gonna believe me when I tell you what just happened.’ And Father said, ‘Oh, that was for you!’ He had seen the light, too!”

Black and white image from behind of an elderly woman in a sweater standing to sing during Catholic Mass

The Best Path for Life

Since her children (and grandchildren) have grown up, June attends daily Mass to pray for her close relatives, living and passed. It is in the Mass she feels closest to her parents, her late husband, and her deceased relatives: “[Receiving] the Eucharist is my favorite part of the Mass because I do feel like everyone is with me—Bob, my parents, everyone who has left. I know someday I will be with them again, and it makes me feel warm and happy.”

Her confidence in the Lord’s love of her in the Eucharist is unshaken, even in the trials of her life. She knows the Lord’s way is a good path—the best one!—and her wish for her younger self was that she truly knew this earlier. As she’s grown older, she’s grateful for all that she continues to discover about her faith: “Even at my age I learn new things. You think you know everything and somehow you still don’t!”

Catholic priest raising the consecrated host and chalice above the altar during Mass

On Fire for the Congress

After the National Eucharistic Revival launched in 2022, St. Mary of the Nativity hosted a series of Eucharistic discussions and speakers that piqued June’s interest, including the Jesus and the Eucharist Small Group Study. She and her sisters attended, and it was just the spark they needed to attend the National Eucharistic Congress. June is planning to meet up with her granddaughter, Sister Emily, who will be there with the Franciscans of the Eucharist of Chicago. She’s most looking forward to the Eucharistic procession with her sisters, “to see the joy and just being with people that feel the same way I do about the Eucharist.”

Despite one of her sisters undergoing knee surgery just a few months before, the lively group of seniors is ready to hit the road, meeting new Catholics in the Crossroads of America. June acknowledged how difficult it is for some who are her age to get out and about—she feels blessed to have a group to travel with and recommends anyone who’s interested in attending to get connected. Whether it’s with a group from their parish, among siblings, or with a pilgrimage group, June is sure you won’t want to miss the Congress. “I’m grateful to God that I am able to do what I am doing now. Maybe others will wake up and join us before it’s too late to attend!”