Stuck on St. Faustina

By Annemarie Thimons

For Katie and Adam Luangkhot, devotion to the Divine Mercy played a significant part in their relationship. The couple credits a daily recitation of the Divine Mercy Chaplet with how they came together. While discerning marriage, they made pilgrimages to the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. 

Katie, originally from Rhinebeck, New York, grew up visiting the Shrine often and saying the Chaplet of Divine Mercy at the 3 o’clock hour with her family. Adam, who had served in the United States Navy and now serves in the U.S. Army, was introduced to the devotion through his bride.

After marriage, the Luangkhots continued to visit the Shrine together often. So, it was no surprise that after the birth of their first daughter, they announced her name as Mariana, the name of St. Faustina’s mother.

“We felt our entire relationship was based around Divine Mercy,” Katie said. “The Divine Mercy Chaplet is our favorite prayer. During Adam’s deployments we relied on praying that for his safety. My whole pregnancy I was drawn to St. Faustina’s mother’s name. We thought it a fitting way to honor our devotion.”

Three years later they had a second daughter, but it took them a while to settle on a permanent name for her. “The [first] name we had given her just didn’t seem to fit. I kept feeling like St. Faustina wanted to watch over this particular baby. We started calling her Faustina and she would smile, so we knew she had to be dedicated to St. Faustina.”

Saint Faustina proved them right. Finding small, daily assurances of St. Faustina’s watchful presence, Katie and Adam were convinced their daughter was meant to be the namesake of this dear saint. Their practice of petitioning St. Faustina for “little miracles” laid the foundation of trust in her intercessory power when they later needed it most.

One day when she was around six months old, Faustina was lying on her tummy while Katie was folding laundry. Katie noticed that Faustina found a 1-inch foil sticker and put it in her mouth. Frantically, Katie opened her mouth to take it out, but Faustina had already swallowed the sticker. At first, Katie and Adam monitored the baby, assuming the sticker would pass naturally. After several days, finding no sticker and speaking with friends and doctors about it, they didn’t think much more about it.  

Several weeks later, Faustina developed a cough. It wasn’t getting better and wasn’t responding to any medication. Several more weeks later, they noticed an increase in the heaviness of her cough and began to wonder anew about the sticker. Katie and Adam brought Faustina into an urgent care center and had her examined again. Again, they were told she had no bacterial infection or viral infection, no cause for concern. 

“I pressed the doctor and asked him about the possibility of that sticker being stuck in her windpipe causing irritation. He told me there was no way that’s what was causing this,” Adam recalled.

Exasperated and concerned for Faustina whose runny nose and thick cough did not diminish, the Luangkhots approached their priest, Fr. David Didam, after Sunday Mass. Adam and Katie briefly explained the situation. Knowing that little Faustina’s patron saint was St. Faustina Kowalska, Fr. David laid his hands on the baby and prayed through the intercession of St. Faustina Kowalska.

Hours later, at their home, Faustina began a coughing fit and coughed up the same 1-inch sticker from eight weeks earlier that she had swallowed. The symptoms were relieved, and Katie called her family, ecstatic with gratitude over the miracle.

“Faustina literally means ‘fortunate one,’ and we know that our Faustina is very fortunate to have such a loving patron saint who really watches over her!” Katie tells people.

That same year, 18 months after Faustina was born, Adam and Katie were blessed with yet another daughter. She happened to be born on Dec. 1, the feast of St. Natalia, the patron saint of soldiers. So they named her “Natalia,” which also happens to be the name of one of St. Faustina’s sisters! 

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