Sister Rose Marie Buscemi

After public high school and work, she answers call to religious life

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Sister Rose Marie Buscemi was born July 11 , 1930, in Madison, the only daughter of Sam and Frances Buscemi. She has one brother. She met the Sisters of St. Francis while attending St. Joseph Elementary School in Madison. "From first grade on, I watched and admired the Sisters who taught me."

"Graduating from eighth grade, I went to a public high school. I truly enjoyed my four years and did the many things teenagers do. I loved being in plays, going to football, basketball and baseball games. I was enjoying life so much that I began to cover up the notion of wanting to go to the convent. I still kept praying that God would tell me what to do with my life," she said.

A few months after graduation, she became ill and needed an operation. She thought this was her answer in whether or not she should enter the convent. After all, Sisters were supposed to be in good health when they entered the convent.

When she had recuperated from surgery, she went to work as a dental assistant. While she liked the work, she still felt something was missing in her life. "During my lunch hour, I found myself walking to a nearby church to pray. It was during those visits that I learned how to talk to God." Eventually, she realized she would be forever restless if she didn't go to the convent.

According to classmate Sister Charlene Hockers, "We were always glad when her family would come to visit. They always brought special Italian cookies and other goodies to treat us." Today, Sister Charlene cites Sister Rose Marie's "beautiful Franciscan hospitality." "I think every time she moved to a different parish, we were invited to come for a visit, have a delicious meal with her, and see her place of work. The meal was often her favorite - Italian spaghetti with meatballs. It became our favorite, too!"

Sister Rose Marie's first assignment was teaching 53 third-graders at St. John, Howard. "With 53 kids, I wonder how we did it -- and I was a second-year novice!"

During most of her religious life, Sister Rose Marie has held two jobs -- teacher and principal or teacher and religious education director. Her teaching and religious education assignments included St. Boniface, De Pere; St. Jude, Green Bay; St. Mary, Peshtigo; St. Joseph, Marinette; All Saints, Denmark; Holy Martyrs, Green Bay; St. Mary, Algoma; Sacred Heart, Manitowoc; and Annunciation Parish, Fox Lake. She now volunteers at Annunciation Parish in Fox Lake.

Reflecting on her life and work, Sister Rose Marie said, "I feel I'm getting the Word of God across in a practical way. After 14 years as a Director of Religious Education (in Fox Lake), I can say that I have found satisfaction in working with and directing volunteers who teach. They truly have been an inspiration to me. I have been grateful for their friendship as well as their hard work. Together, our goal has been to make 'sense out of life' through the teachings of Jesus."