By Sister Helen Buscarino

buscarino-bestIn her Farewell Address as outgoing First Lady, Michelle Obama stressed to teachers and students “the power of hope.” The number of people throughout the ages who were “fired by the power of hope” that immediately came to my mind could fill an encyclopedia! They are people famous for their achievements throughout the world in every possible field. For me personally, I have seen much hope from my childhood through the present day.

Growing up during the depression of 1929, I hoped that my father would have a job. Relatives arranged to have my father work at the Wickwire Steel Plant where he was employed for over 40 years.

After graduating from Public School #1, I hoped someday to become a nun and a teacher like Sister Damian Cookingham, my religion teacher at Holy Cross Church on Buffalo’s west side. My hope to enter the Franciscan Missionary Sisters of the Divine Child became a reality when I was admitted as a postulant in 1942.

I had hopes of getting a college education; that hope materialized when I earned a bachelor’s degree in education from Mount St. Joseph Teacher’s College and a Masters in religious studies from Canisius College. I enjoyed teaching both public and parochial school children in parishes in New York and Texas. My hope to travel was fulfilled in a way that surpassed my wildest dreams. Thanks to my unmarried sister, Carmela, I was invited to be her companion on a few cruises. Especially memorable was the one to Alaska that included touring a large section of western United States. I also have traveled to Italy, Spain, Portugal, France and the Holy Land.

In 2011, I experienced double vision and was later diagnosed with myasthenia gravis. This forced me to retire from a ministry I truly loved —visiting with and bringing Holy Communion to St. Amelia parishioners who were homebound, in nursing homes, or in hospitals. But “I rejoice and am happy because hope is in the Lord.” (Psalm 146:5) Now, I just hope that I may thank as I ought to Almighty God and the sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities for the countless blessings I receive daily.

Now I hope that some young disciple reading this may be inspired to dedicate her life to serve a loving and omnipotent God!