Sister Diane Hill, OSB

June 20, 2002

Sister Diane (Christopher) Hill, OSB, of Mount St. Scholastica, Atchison, Kans., died June 20, 2002, at the monastery. Her vigil service will be Sunday, June 23, 2002 at 7 pm in the monastery chapel. The Mass of the Resurrection will be there Monday, June 24, at 10:30 am.

Sister Diane Hill%2C OSBSister Diane entered her community in 1965 and made monastic profession in 1967. After  a dispensation in 1972, she reentered in 1979 and made profession in 1981. She was a graduate of Donnelly College and of Mount St. Scholastica College. 

She taught in elementary school, received a Masters in Social Work from the University of Kansas, and spent most of her life as a licensed clinical social worker in Topeka, Kansas City, and Lawrence--as instructor and supervisor for a variety of state and federal social programs; as administrator for home and community based programs for Kansas SRS Medicaid; and as consultant for special services, Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas Office of the Aging. Sister Diane also became a hospital chaplain, first at Shawnee Mission Medical Center, and then in the clinical pastoral education residency program at Baptist Medical Center. Her faculty appointments include teaching associate at KU Med Center Department of Psychiatry and field instructor at the KU School of Social Welfare. She was licensed by the Academy of Certified Social Workers and the NASW National Register of Clinical Social Workers. She was recipient of the Ozanam Foundation Scholarship and a Veterans Administration Scholarship. Sister Diane served as representative to her community Senate.

Born in 1942 to William and Nell Anderson Hill, Sister Diane was the oldest of four children. She is survived by her monastic family and by her two brothers William and Christopher of Kansas City and their families. Preceding her in death were her parents and her brother Patrick.

Memorials may be sent to Mount St. Scholastica, Atchison, Kansas.

Let us remember her gratefully in our prayers.
 

Reflection Given at the Funeral Vigil

By Rose Marie Stallbaumer, OSB

Thirty-six years ago Sister Diane Hill asked for and was given the name Christopher, which means Christ-bearer, as her religious name. Although she returned to her baptismal name of Diane a few years later, she continued to be for others a Christ-bearer.

On behalf of Sister Mary, our Prioress, and our monastic community, I would like to offer our sympathy to Diane's brothers, Bill and Chris, her nieces, nephews, relatives, friends and co-ministers. May you know the compassion of Christ and the support of our community during this time of sorrow.

The Gospel Beatitudes which we just heard speak of the many facets or faces of holiness in our midst. Jesus talks about the face of the merciful, the peacemaker, the persecuted. Diane, in her life among us, bore the face of the suffering Christ on her way to holiness.

Sister Macrina Wiederkehr in her book, Seasons of Your Heart, gives further imagination to our understanding of the beatitudes as she writes,
"Blessed are those who wear compassion like a garment,
those who have learned how to find themselves
by losing themselves in another's sorrow.
For they too shall receive comfort...
Blessed are you if you can minister to others
with a heart that feels,
with a heart that hurts,
with a heart that loves..."

In a body which endured physical and mental pain throughout most of her lifetime, Diane became the face of the suffering Christ. In her ministry as Christ-bearer, she remained steadfast to her family through times of suffering and loss, and ministered to the larger community as a social worker and chaplain, as one who reached out to those who were marginalized and forgotten by our society. As a member of our monastic community, Diane reached out in a special way to comfort our elderly and infirm sisters. St. Paul assures us that this endurance of physical and mental suffering produces character and this character produces hope. It was this character and hope that sustained Diane in the last years of her life.

Just one year ago this month Diane gave up her ministry to the sick and dying at Baptist Medical Center to enter more fully into her own passage from death to life. During this past year, she came to believe more fully in our love and God's love for her. It was this love that gave her the strength and courage to become transformed from the suffering face of Christ into the face of the Resurrected Christ among us even in the midst of her suffering.

Several months ago Diane came across a passage from an anonymous source that she couldn't forget. It read:
"When we walk to the edge of all the light we have
and take that step into the darkness of the unknown,
we must believe that one of two things will happen...
There will be something solid for us to stand on,
or we will be taught to fly."

In the final days of her illness Diane recalled this often and as I finished reading it to her two days before she died, she got a twinkle in her eye and responded, "Either way I am a winner." Indeed, Diane is a winner. And because we have loved and known Diane we, too, can celebrate the victory with her.