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A nun's purpose born out of brutality

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Since she was little, Dianna Mae Ortiz spoke about wanting to become a nun. She entered the Ursuline order at 17 and trained to teach small children.

Her desire to be a missionary in Latin America brought her to an indigenous Maya village in Guatemala while the country was still in the throes of a bloody civil conflict that was to take more than 200,000 lives before it ended in 1996.

Some years into her stay in the country, in November 1989, Guatemalan military members kidnapped, raped and tortured her. Ortiz said a man who appeared to be an American was in her torture chamber. For many years, she sought justice and truth from the U.S and Guatemalan governments, and felt betrayed by both.

Reporter Maria Martin brings us this retrospective on Sister Dianna Ortiz, who died in February, 2021. It’s from the series Sacred Steps about people from all kinds of faith traditions, challenging the status quo. and, a warning: sexual abuse is mentioned in this story.

The Spiritual Edge podcast seasons 1 & 2 are available to listen to on kalw.org or on any podcast player.