Sister Ortiz’s book, “The Blindfold’s Eyes: My Journey from Torture to Truth” (2002, with Patricia Davis), recounted the psychological toll that both the abduction and her quest for the truth had taken on her.
And at some point, her friends said, she realized that she had to stop, for her own sanity.
“It was so exhausting for her; she had to pull back, or it was going to do her in,” Meredith Larson, a friend and fellow human rights activist who was also attacked in Guatemala, said in an interview.
Sister Ortiz stopped agitating for information in her own case, Ms. Larson said, but she became a champion of torture survivors, remaining active in torture-related causes.
“She has moved our collective consciousness on how destructive torture is and how important it is to support the well-being of survivors,” Ms. Larson said.
Dianna Mae Ortiz was born on Sept. 2, 1958, in Colorado Springs, Colo., and grew up in Grants, N.M., one of eight children. Her mother, Ambroshia, was a homemaker; her father, Pilar Ortiz, was a uranium miner.
She is survived by her mother; her brothers, Ronald, Pilar Jr., John and Josh Ortiz; and her sisters, Barbara Murrietta and Michelle Salazar. Another brother, Melvin, died in 1974.
Dianna yearned for a religious life from an early age and in 1977 entered the Ursuline novitiate at Mount St. Joseph, in Maple Mount, Ky. She then became a sister of the Ursuline Order. While undergoing her religious training, she attended nearby Brescia University, graduating in 1983 with a degree in elementary and early childhood education. She taught kindergarten before going to Guatemala in 1987.