DAILY CATHOLIC     FRI-SAT-SUN     April 23-25, 1999     vol. 10, no. 80


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    INTRODUCTION      "Getting to the Heart of the Matter" is what Sister Mary Lucy Astuto pinpoints in every issue when she takes a common sense approach to living our faith with her practical columns.

          Today Sister briefly shares with all the last minutes of her mother's life on earth - from the mundane to the sublime - God chose to take her home on the perfect occasion - the anniversary of Saint Bernadette Soubirous. Sister relates that it was a beautiful way and time to go, quietly and peacefully and with all sins forgiven through the plenary indulgence. We can all only pray that this would also befall us someday.

          Her column provides effective, vital insights into our faith and ways of fulfilling God's Will every day in every way. You can visit Sr. Lucy at her web site for Heart of Mary Ministry at http://www .heartofmaryministry. com or you can reach her at Srmarylucy @aol.com by e-mail.


      It has happened! Mama died Friday evening, April 16, about 10:32 p.m. Born in 1907, she was worn out.

      “The Lord gives and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the Name of the Lord!”

      Her death was VERY peaceful and without agony.

      All that day she felt particularly punk. She had an extra amount of phlegm in her throat which was very difficult for her to expel by coughing or clearing her throat. And, though I knew her days were numbered, I had not expected God’s call would be that day.

      She called for me about 10:15 p.m. I had been working only 20 feet from her. Mama had often called for me day and night and often didn’t know why she was calling me. I, therefore, did not know that this call was her last. I went to her and asked if she needed to use the commode. She said, “Yes!”

      Very gently I helped her to sit up on the living room couch where she had been resting. She said: “Wait a minute!” She wanted to pause a bit before I would help her get up. Was she dizzy? I don’t know. But I paused at her request. Then I gently lifted her onto the commode. That wasn’t difficult. She only weighed 67 pounds.

      When she finished, I gently picked her up again and sat her carefully on the couch. Immediately and in succession, her shoulders jerked. Not like shivers, but like strong twitches. Then came a sound I had never anticipated. The phlegm in her throat seemed to be blocking her air passage.

      I said loudly: “Mama, spit it out, spit it out, Ma!” But her beautiful green eyes were looking peacefully straight ahead without blinking. Though not dilated, I knew this wasn’t normal. I laid her on her left side with her head bent a bit downward in hopes that gravity would help draw the phlegm. I knelt down and started to pray Acts of Faith, Hope, Love and Contrition, but sensing there was little time, I rushed through the shortened forms.

      Running to the kitchen phone, I called my priest-brother. “Come quick, and anoint Mom.” I said. I think she’s died. After two more quick calls, I returned to Mama’s side.

      I saw that her breathing was nearing an end and her heart was weakly beating. I knelt and began to pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy.

      My priest-brother arrived and after anointing Mom, he gave her the Apostolic Blessing that carries with it a plenary indulgence. When he said “Amen,” Mama peacefully took her last breath.

      I shall be unsure in this life what took Mama anatomically. She had lost one lung in 1927 from tuberculosis and due to a lung infection 20 years ago, she had been living on 1/4 of a lung. She also had an enlarged heart and congestive heart failure. But was it a stroke?? a clot in her lung?? suffocation???

      I shall learn in eternity. What I do know is that God had a place prepared for her. And though He took her soul into eternity, He left us the wonderful memories of a holy Mama, who died a holy death.

      She had fought the good fight and kept the Faith. The Crown of Glory was awaiting her. I’ll miss her terribly! But one day I shall wrap my arms around her again and smother her with kisses. Then she will say: “Come, sweetheart, and see Jesus!”

      I can’t wait!

      May her soul and all the souls of the faithful departed rest in peace. Amen.

April 23-25, 1999       volume 10, no. 80


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