Sister Mary Lucy joyfully spread God’s love

Sister Mary Lucy Astuto, founder of the Daughters of the Eternal Father and the Heart of Mary Ministry in Omaha, died Feb. 8. She was 79.

A funeral Mass was held Feb. 15 at St. Peter Church, with interment at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, both in Omaha.

Born and raised in Omaha, Sister Mary Lucy attended the former St. Peter School and Mercy High School. Shortly after her graduation in 1957, she entered the Sisters of Mercy, and professed first vows in 1960 and final vows in 1961.

She earned degrees in education from College of Saint Mary in Omaha and the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

Early in her career, Sister Mary Lucy taught at the former St. Ann, St. Patrick and St. Agnes schools, and St. Bernard School, all in Omaha, St. Mary School in Bellevue and St. John Neumann School in Clarkson, as well as schools in Iowa and Missouri.

In 1991, she founded Heart of Mary Ministry to spread the love of God and the messages of the Blessed Mother through music, retreats, missions, conferences and days of recollection. A pianist, singer and composer, Sister Mary Lucy also produced numerous music CDs and a recitation of the original 15 mysteries of the Rosary. She also was involved with Spirit Catholic Radio from its beginnings.

In 2002, she gained permission from Archbishop Elden Francis Curtiss to form a new religious community, the Daughters of the Eternal Father, with a mission to catechize children, including sacramental preparation, in homes, at their convent, and in parishes and schools in Omaha and Council Bluffs.

Choosing to wear a habit of white and pink, she told the Catholic Voice in 2005 that those colors stand for purity, hope and joy.

“Hope and joy – I just think we need more of that in our world today … We Christians have every reason to be happy and joyful,” she said. “The Lord has saved us and he loves us.”

“Sister was very happy and joyful, and loved to tell jokes,” said Sister Maryann Frances Polson, a member of The Daughters of the Eternal Father. “She was very kind and loving to people, and if they had problems she listened and tried to help them. She always wanted to give people hope.”

Sister Mary Lucy was preceded in death by her parents, Rosario and Lucia (Giuliano) Astuto; brothers and sister-in-law, Salvatore “Sammy” Astuto, Joseph and Betty Astuto, and Father Lucian Astuto; and a sister, Josephine Eby. She is survived by a brother-in-law, Henry Eby, and numerous nieces and nephews.

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