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Sister Mary Helen Buscarino, OSF, 1924-2022


Sister Mary Helen Buscarino, the founder and namesake of Lockport’s Sister Helen’s Food Pantry, died Aug. 30, 2022. She was 98 years old and had recently celebrated her 80th Jubilee of religious life.

Sister Mary Helen Buscarino, OSF

Sister Helen was the first child born to Carmelo and Alfonsa Buscarino in Racalmuto, Sicily on April 21, 1924. Her lifelong journey with the Lord began on May 11, 1924, when she was baptized in La Chiesa di Maria Sanctissima del Monte Carmelo.

In the summer of 1924, when she was two months old, her family immigrated to Canada before relocating to the West Side of Buffalo. Her family were members of Holy Cross Parish where she was introduced to the Franciscan Missionary Sisters of the Divine Child.

After graduating valedictorian from Hutchinson Central High School, she entered her religious community. Sister Helen was a member of the Franciscan Missionary Sisters of the Divine Child for 62 years, having entered the community on Sept. 8, 1942. In 2004, the order merged with the Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities. 

Sister Helen earned a bachelor of science degree in Education in 1951, a master of science in Education in 1954 and a master of arts in Religious Studies in 1980. 

Over the past 80 years, Sister Helen was a catechist, director of religious education, teacher, missionary, pastoral associate, and an advocate and resource person for social justice. She ministered in city and rural areas of Buffalo, Lockport, Brooklyn, San Antonio and Brazil.

While a director of religious education at St. John the Baptist in Lockport, Sister Helen started a food pantry which is still in existence today. Sister Helen’s Food Pantry, named in her honor and her beautiful caring spirit, offers food, clothing and household items to those in need.

Sister Helen was an avid sports fan, especially for the Buffalo Bills. She greatly enjoyed visiting with family and friends, traveling the world, reading, listening to classical music, and being an avid walker.

Sister Helen was predeceased by her parents, her brothers John and Sam, and sisters Mary DeBoth and Carmela. 

The wake will be held Friday, Sept. 2, from 4 to 7 p.m. at Amigone Funeral Home, 5200 Sheridan Drive. A funeral Mass St. Peter & Paul’s Church in Williamsville on Saturday, Sept. 3, at 9:30 a.m. Immediately following, internment will take place at the Gethsemane Cemetery, Williamsville.


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