Sister Ann (Mary Henry) Diettrich, OSB

October 13, 1939 – October 9, 2020

Sister Ann Diettrich, OSB, 80, a Benedictine sister of Mount St. Scholastica, Atchison, Kan., died Friday, Oct. 9, at the monastery. Services will be held at a later date.

Sister Ann was born in Evanston, Ill., on Oct. 13, 1939, one of four children of Ruth (Zeigea) and Henry Diettrich. She entered the Benedictines of Mount St. Scholastica in 1959 and made her final profession on Dec. 31, 1967. Her sister, Mary Ruth, was also a religious, a Sister of St. Agnes in Fond du Lac, Wis. With a bachelor’s degree in education and a master’s degree in early childhood education, Sister Ann served for thirty years as a primary and early childhood teacher in parish schools in Kansas and Missouri, as well as at Donnelly College’s childcare center. After taking chaplaincy training at Bethany Hospital, she served as minister of care for the sick and elderly in parishes in Kansas City. From 1990-2008, she served as oblate director for the Mount’s Kansas City, Kansas, oblate group. When she returned to the monastery, she was a chaplain in Dooley Center, the monastery’s health care facility.

Sister Ann was preceded in death by her parents, by her brother John Diettrich, and by her sisters Rita Lockwood and Sister Mary James Diettrich, C.S.A. She is survived by nieces and nephews and her monastic family. Becker-Dyer-Stanton Funeral Home (www.beckerdyer.com) is in charge of arrangements. Memorials may be sent to Mount St. Scholastica or made online at the Mount’s web site (www.mountosb.org)

Homily for Vigil of Sister Ann Diettrich

By Angela Ostermann, OSB | October 23, 2020

How appropriate that we should be celebrating this vigil for Sister Ann Diettrich on a Friday evening as she was known for her Friday evening porch parties.

     I want to extend sympathy and offer prayers to Sister Ann’s nieces, Nancy Gillis, Mary Trednick and Karen Harris and to her nephews, John Lockwood and Don Lockwood,  to her classmates, to the many Oblates she accompanied as their director, to the parishioners she served, to her many friends to whom she was most faithful, especially John Erickson, Donna Cunningham and Monica Bartels and to the members of her Benedictine community.  All her immediate family preceded her in death, her parents Ruth and Henry, her sisters Rita Lockwood and Sister Mary James, a sister of St. Agnes and her brother John Diettrich.

     If there is one characteristic that defined Ann it was her faithful loyalty.  She never forgot her family, her friends, her classmates, her community, her ministry, her birthplace Chicago and her Irish heritage.  She lived the words we heard in the first reading from Ecclesiastes.  She loved times for celebrating birthdays, feastdays, namedays, Friday night parties, times for laughter and for sorrow, times for speaking and for remaining silent.  As we waited with her for death she remained mostly silent, only opening her eyes briefly or saying one or two words.  She was fulfilling a quote from Anthony Padovano that she included in her funeral liturgy plan:  “Life begins with waiting and it ends with waiting…we wait for everything that is really worth having.  We wait to be born.  We wait for love to touch us.  We wait for life to grow…till the very end, we wait.  We even wait for God…”Padovano

     It is interesting that in her file of information she had the reasons that prompted her preparation of her funeral liturgy and I quote, “This summer (May 1979) I have chosen to make a private retreat for 3 days here at St. Anthony’s and use the quiet in preparation for my death.”  Two events , the American Airline crash in Chicago and her own father’s brush with death all during that Memorial Day weekend helped to spur her funeral liturgy planning.  All the readings we heard this evening and the songs for this vigil were chosen by Ann.  About every 5-7 years she reviewed her funeral plans and if she made a change it was duly noted with the date of the change.  She was meticulous (faithful) in dealing with the events of her life.

     Ann spent most of her religious life on mission where she contributed to community life by her presence and love of cooking and hosting guests.  Her ministry during these years on mission was framed between two age groups, the young and the old.  Having faithfully lived the Rule of Benedict for 57 years  Ann was aware of Chapter 31 of the Rule in which Benedict admonishes the cellarer to show every “concern for the sick, children, guests and the poor.” RB 31:9  For 30 years Ann ministered as a primary and early childhood teacher.  Her love of little children grew out of her love for Christ and the welcome he showed to children in the gospel we heard this evening.  Following her work with young children she became a minister of care for the sick and elderly in Kansas City, Kansas parishes, and when she came home to the Mount she assisted in Dooley Center pastoral care.  She also embraced the ministry to Oblates and was a director for a Kansas City, KS group for 18 years.  Her love for the Oblates was nourished by the example of her parents who were Benedictine Oblates of St. Scholastica’s in Chicago.  In all these ministries she exemplified the words of St. Paul to the Romans in our second reading:  “We do not live to ourselves and we do not die to ourselves.” Romans 14:7

     The time has come to say goodbye.  The wait is over and all that remains is the dance.  And of course it’s the Irish Jig.