DAILY CATHOLIC     FRI-SAT-SUN     April 9-11, 1999     vol. 10, no. 70


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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 bares her heart and soul in sharing one of the most important people in her life, her dear earthly mother who is near death's door at 92. It is through Jesus' Divine Mercy that Sister's mother was given a loving husband and five children, one who became a priest and Sister Mary Lucy who has become the kind of nun all of us long for - a loyal, nun who remains loyal to all the Church teaches and is proud to wear the habit - the true garment for a bride of Christ. It is this same Divine Mercy that Sister asks for on behalf of her mother that He will take her home to be with Him quickly and forever. It is most appropriate that she writes about this during the week dedicated to the Divine Mercy Novena and we ask all to help her in calling down Divine Mercy for her dear mother who has suffered so and richly deserves the rewards that await her soon in Heavenly bliss.

          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.


          My mother is dying. I’ve been her primary caretaker since she fell and broke her back on New Year’s Day, 1997. She now weighs 67 pounds. Though she was never more than 5’ 2” in height, 67 pounds is quite meager.

          She’s had quite a history. In 1927, when she was 20 years of age, she contracted tuberculosis. In those days, there was no antibiotic for a cure. She was cured, however. The Doctors collapsed her infected lung to give it rest. In her case, it worked. God wanted our Mom to live to bring five children into the world, one of whom would become a priest and another, a Religious Sister of Mercy.

          If she is sustained until May 14 this year, she will have her 92nd birthday.

          Everyone could agree that in 92 years, much can be done and can happen in a person’s life. But my mother’s life is not just what has happened to her. It’s about what has happened because of her. It’s HOW she lived her life, reared her children, carried out the duties in her state in life.

          My mother was an “ordinary” wife, and an “ordinary” mother. Yet, again, not so “ordinary.” She was always a “home-body.” She didn’t like the “wild life” out in the world. She didn’t visit relatives or friends to play cards or drink wine. Those things never attracted her. She liked to be home. She just wanted to keep a clean house, cook good meals, and above all, do a good job in caring for her husband and rearing her children. And she did all those things exceptionally well. She was an extraordinary woman because she did her ordinary duties very well.

          I shall always be grateful for the many times she baked homemade bread, homemade pizza, homemade cakes and cooked all those wonderful Sicilian meals without need of recipes. I will always be grateful for how tidy she kept the house and how attentive she was to us when we were sick. But what I shall be grateful for the most was how she reared us in Catholicism, how she made sure we got a good Catholic education, learned our prayers, and received the Sacraments.

          Yes, I remember my mother asking now and then when I was quite young, if I had been to confession within the last few weeks. She never invaded the privacy of my conscience, but she did help me form the HABIT of going to confession, at least once a month, but preferably, every two weeks.

          To Mom, the practice of our Catholic Faith and prayer were essential. Even now, my mother, whose mind is almost all “gone,” prays out loud. She prays herself to sleep often. When I hear her, I know that is not something she started lately. She is about to close a life that has prayed much. She formed the habit of prayer a long time ago.

          I do not ask God to preserve her life. I do ask Him, however, to please take her straight to Heaven. For if any of us can become great saints by doing our ordinary duties well, my mother is proof.

          “Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, may she breathe forth her soul in peace with You!”

          God bless her ... and you!

April 9-11, 1999       volume 10, no. 70


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