Our community experienced a great loss on February 19, 2021 with the passing of Dianna Ortiz, OSU. Dianna was serving as Pax Christi USA’s Deputy Director at the time of her death and had previously been on staff as director of programs and the internship program coordinator from 2009-2012. She was the recipient of the Pax Christi USA Teacher of Peace Award in 2000.

Read our statement here with links to the memorial page on the Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition website, the obituary from her community, the Ursuline Sisters of Mount St. Joseph in Kentucky, and a column from her friend and Assisi community member, Rev. Joe Nangle.

Timeline:

  • 1979: Enters Ursulines
  • 1980: Ursuline novitiate
  • 1987: Goes to Guatemala on two-year assignment with Ursulines in Huehuetenango Province.
  • 1989: Abduction in Guatemala
  • 1990: Filed a case with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in 1990 based on her abduction and torture by agents of the Guatemalan government in 1989.
  • 1998-2008: Founder and director of Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition (TASSC International)
  • 2000: Pax Christi USA Teacher of Peace award
  • 2001: Dianna Ortiz and TASSC International receive the Center for Victims of Torture (CVT) Eclipse Award for their extraordinary service for the protection and healing of torture survivors, and for the prevention of torture.
  • 2003: US Catholic Award for furthering the cause of women in the Catholic Church
  • 2004: Published The Blindfold’s Eyes: My Journey from Torture to Truth (Orbis)
  • 2005: Dianna Ortiz and TASSC receive Oscar Romero Award of the Rothko Chapel in Houston, TX.
  • 2005: Ana Castillo publishes Psst … I Have Something to Tell You, Mi Amor (Wings Press)—two plays on the life of Dianna Ortiz
  • 2006: Published “Theology, International Law, and Torture: A Survivor’s View” in Theology Today, a journal of Princeton Theological Seminary (October 1, 2006)
  • 2009-2012: Pax Christi USA Director of Programs and Internship Program Coordinator
  • 2012-2018: Assistant director of the Education for Justice Program at the Center for Concern
  • 2020-2021: Deputy director for Pax Christi USA

Some key resources about Dianna:

Special thanks to Rose Berger for compiling much of the information on this page.

4 thoughts on “Dianna Ortiz, OSU | Sept. 2, 1958 – Feb. 19, 2021

  1. In April of 1998, Fr Ted Sizing of Syracuse and I were lobbying in the halls of Congress to close the US Army School of the Americas. We stayed at the Assisi House just a walk away from the Georgia Ave Metro that took us each day into the Capitol station. it was a Sunday so no lobbying. After mass we all received word that Bishop Juan José Gerardi of Guatemala was assassinated. Gerardi was killed because he spoke out against the torturers and assassins in the Guatemalan military.
    Sr Diane Ortiz was staying at the Assisi house after surviving unspeakable terror at the hands of the Guatemala military. She was crushed to hear of his death. Many of us (including Ted and myself) had know little of anything about Bishop Gerardi…who, like Oscar Romero, knew that speaking truth can have deadly payback.
    Diane was a truth teller–a good friend of Bishop Gerardi.
    Her life goes on in spirit. It continues in the good teamwork that anti-terrorist organizations have performed by their lobbying, their protests, their letters and their speeches to educate the masses and to press for the powers of government to outlaw torture. Sr Diane was part of that team.
    Thank you Sister Diane
    Jack Gilroy
    bensalmon.org

  2. I am left without words. I flew to Washington for Jubalee 2000. I stayed at the Assisi house and met Diana Ortiz. Also Marie Dennis, Joe Nangle
    and several others.
    EllieHays, Pax Christi Nevada – Reno

  3. Dianna was truly Christ’s ambassador on earth. Her faithful spirit will continue to bring light, hope and healing to survivors of torture. May the angels bring her home to rest peacefully in the arms of her loving God where she can behold the light and beauty of His face.

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