Ursuline Sister of Mount St. Joseph Dianna Ortiz, a human rights advocate, died Feb. 19

Sister Dianna Ortiz

Ursuline Sister of Mount St. Joseph Dianna Ortiz died Feb. 19 in Washington, D.C. She was 62 and had been an Ursuline sister for 43 years.

Sister Ortiz, a native of Grants, N.M., ministered as a teacher in Kentucky, served as a missionary in Guatemala and was a human rights advocate.

In Kentucky, Sister Ortiz taught in the Diocese of Owensboro from 1983 to 1987.

She traveled to Guatemala in 1987 where she did mission work with Mayan children.

While ministering in Guatemala in 1989, Sister Ortiz was abducted by government forces and tortured. Afterward, she became a grassroots organizer for the Guatemalan Human Rights Commission. She is the founder of the Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition International, which advocates for victims of torture.

She later wrote “The Blindfold’s Eyes: My Journey from Torture to Truth,” which was published in 2002. Sister Ortiz also testified before Congress about human rights and torture.

She has served with the Center of Concern on the Education for Justice Project and most recently was the deputy director of Pax Christi USA, where she served until her death.

She is survived by her mother Amby Ortiz of Grants; sisters Barbara Murrietta of Grants and Michelle Salazar of San Mateo, N.M.; brothers Ronald, Pilar, John and Joshua Ortiz all of Grants; nieces, nephews and members of her religious community.

Due to health and safety concerns, the wake on Feb. 28 and funeral March 1 will be private. Both services will be live streamed.

Expressions of sympathy may be sent to the Ursuline Sisters of Mount Saint Joseph, 8001 Cummings Road, Maple Mount, Ky., 42356.

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