Family credits soon-to-be Saint Teresa with saving daughter’s life

Credit: Michele Khoury

By: Rebecca Turco


JOHNSTON, R.I. – A Johnston family is personally touched by the news that Mother Teresa is going to be named a saint.

Kenneth and Michele Khoury credit Mother Teresa with saving their daughter’s life, after Bishop Tobin blessed her in the hospital.

In November 2007, when Sydney was five years-old, she was diagnosed with a rare form of Wilms’ tumor on her left kidney, which ended up being stage-three kidney cancer. She was put on an experimental cocktail of chemotherapy along with two weeks of radiation to increase her chances of survival. Sydney spent 11 months in the hospital with time at home in-between treatments.

Then, in February 2008, she was admitted back into the hospital and eventually sent to the ICU to be put in a medically-induced coma. A few weeks later, Bishop Tobin went to the hospital and blessed her, using a relic containing strands of Mother Teresa’s hair.

“We started praying,” explained Kenneth. “Sydney opened her eyes. Her body shook. Something happened that day in the room.”

Four days after the blessing, Sydney was breathing on her own. Ten days later, she was out of the hospital.

“I thought [the bishop’s blessing] was our last possibility of saving Sydney and it did,” Kenneth explained. “It was a miracle.”

Sydney is now 13 years-old. She was declared cancer-free three years ago.

With the news that Mother Teresa is going to be a saint, the Khoury family has yet another reason to be in awe of her. “It just brings a special joy now and another extra wonderful memory of our experience,” said Michele Khoury.

Though for Sydney, the official title makes no difference. “Even if she wasn’t a saint, she’ll always be a saint to me,” she said.

In 2013, the diocese of Providence began collecting Sydney’s medical records to send to the Vatican to see if her story could have been the second miracle needed to make Mother Teresa a saint. Even though another miracle was picked, the Vatican is still determining whether Sydney’s story would qualify.

The two miracles Mother Teresa is now being recognized for involve people whose tumors disappeared.

© WLNE-TV 2015