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‘It gives us hope through all life’s trials’

December 16, 2020

Editor’s note: The following is an installment of an ongoing series featuring how Catholics of the Diocese of Ogdensburg are living out their faith. To suggest an individual to be featured in this series, please call the North Country Catholic at 315-393-2920 or email dfargo@rcdony.org.

By Darcy Fargo

CARTHAGE – “I love my faith. I didn’t seek it out. It kind of fell in my lap,” said Kathi Buskey of Carthage.

Buskey said her parents were raised Catholic but were not practicing the faith when she was a child.

“My grandparents – all four of them – were Catholic and practiced their faith,” Buskey said. “They insisted I make my first Communion.”

Despite that initial exposure to the faith, Buskey said she became involved in two things in her youth: drugs and the new age movement.

“I made so many mistakes,” she said. “I was looking for God but didn’t know how or where. I went to college in Buffalo. There were so many ways to get into trouble. I found a lot of them. Then I moved to Albany. I sort of spiraled out of control. I kept looking for happiness, but in the wrong places. As St. Augustine said, ‘my soul is restless until it rests in thee, Lord.’”

Buskey said she was “prejudiced against the Catholic Church at a young age.”

“I was very much a feminist,” she said. “I thought abortion and birth control were ok. The Catholic Church was the last place I thought to look for answers. I thought the Church was antiquated and patriarchal. I just continued being unhappy. I met my husband. We lived together. We ended up getting married in a Unitarian Universalist Church.”

Then, the couple struggled to become pregnant.

“I was desolate,” Buskey said. “One day, I walked by a Catholic Church in Utica. Everything in my heart said to go in. I looked to see when there would be a Mass. I thought, ‘I’ve tried everything else. I might as well try this.’ I sat in the last pew. During consecration, it was miraculous. I’m a very grounded, practical person, but when the priest held up the host, I knew it was Jesus with every fiber of my being.”

Buskey said she knew not to receive the Eucharist, as she wasn’t in a state of grace, but she said she desperately wanted to receive Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. She asked the priest to hear her confession after Mass.

“I was 26,” she said. “I hadn’t been to confession since I made my First Communion.”

Buskey’s husband, David, who had been raised Catholic but was then a practicing Mormon, soon joined her on her journey of faith.

“He’s been on this journey with me every step of the way,” she said. “When I told him, ‘this is what I think will save me,’ he said, ‘I am on board.’”

After their conversion experience, Buskey said she continued to struggle to become pregnant for five years.

“We didn’t know if we’d ever have a baby or not,” she said. “We started pursuing adoption. But, by the grace of God, we were able to have a child. Now we have five. It was our faith that got us through that time. Our faith has made us who we are and given us one of the best marriages I know. I say that with all humility. It’s a gift.”
The couple opted to homeschool their five children.

“Our kids are great,” Buskey said. “They are so joy filled and faith filled.”

Buskey’s mother has also returned to her Catholic faith.

The Buskeys, business owners in Watertown, are actively involved in more than one parish.

“Our office is in Watertown,” she said. “Prior to the pandemic, we were daily communicants of St. Anthony’s, so we became parishioners there. Father (John ‘Mickey’) Demo, Father Deepak (Baru) and Father Herman (Pongantung) are amazing! They’re really the cream of the crop. It’s such a beautiful parish.”

When COVID-19 hit, the Buskeys began working from home.

“We became parishioners of St. James in Carthage,” Buskey said. “Father (Donald) Robinson welcomed us with open arms. He’s been so amazing. We’re so blessed to have all those priests!”

The Buskey family regularly participates in adoration at both parishes, and they encourage others to spend time with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.

“You can go to Him any time,” she said. “He’s just sitting in the tabernacle waiting for you. I’m a big advocate for adoration. We’re so blessed to have regular adoration opportunities in our communities. I can’t encourage people enough to go and sit at the feet of Christ. If you can only go for 10 minutes, go for 10 minutes. If you can go for an hour, go for an hour. Sit at His feet and tell Him what you’re thankful for, tell Him what you need. Listen to Him.”

Buskey said she regularly prays for vocations as part of her prayer at adoration.

“I love our priests,” she said. “And we’re so blessed to have the bishop we have. My heart aches as a mother to see the burdens they bear and the disrespect they get, and the way they’re treated because of the sins of others. Our kids are told to go out and make lots of money and do what makes you happy. It’s so counterculture what our priests are doing. They go against the culture to serve and bring us the sacraments.”

She said she’s also grateful to the religious sisters in our diocese.

“We have so many beautiful sisters,” she said. “So many of them are dear friends.”

Buskey said she also regularly prays for the souls of those in purgatory.

“So many people seem to think we go straight to heaven, and no suffering needs to be done after we leave this life,” she said. “I tell my children all the time: pray for the souls in purgatory and pray for me when I go. Pray for our loved ones. Don’t just assume they go to heaven.”

Now, four of Buskey’s five children practice their faith.

“I know the heartache mothers have when their child is not in the faith,” she said. “I tried so hard to make sure my kids understood the mistakes I made. To see one make the same mistakes is heart breaking. I have faith she’ll come back.”

And Buskey said that faith is what sustains her.

“We’re on fire and we’re passionate,” she said. “Our faith gives us peace. It gives us hope through all life’s trials and obstacles.”

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