Sister Julianne Diebold 1921 – 2017
The Wheaton Franciscan Sisters invite your prayers for
SISTER JULIANNE DIEBOLD
of Our Lady of Perpetual Help
“What one heart can do for another heart! Is there any beauty in the world that can match this?” Thus writes the Sufi poet Hafiz. And thus lived Sr. Julianne Diebold in her relationships with the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary and the hearts of everyone that she engaged throughout her almost 96 years of life.
Ottilia Alvina was gifted to our world by Dennis and Margaret Diebold on February 10, 1921, and presented for baptism by her parents the next day in St. Augustine’s Church, Kelso, Missouri. She was one of eleven children, with Sisters Flora and Denise also members of the Wheaton Franciscans. At the age of 30, Ottilia entered the Wheaton Franciscans receiving the name of Sr. Julianne Diebold of Our Lady of Perpetual Help. She professed her final vows in 1957. All her life, she breathed goodness and joy perpetually and helpfully to all as she lived out the title of her patron.
Sr. Julianne served as a seamstress and fabric artist in our missions in Racine and Milwaukee, Wisconsin as well as in Waterloo, Iowa and Wheaton, Illinois. She lovingly cared for sisters in her service as Assistant Directress and Community Coordinator in both Milwaukee and Wheaton. Everywhere she companioned others with a large heart and wise smile with a twinkle in her eye. She had one desire: to be a manifestation of our loving God.
Julianne loved trees and unlike her usual quiet ways she could wax eloquently on the spiritual wisdom of a tree. With the poet Tagore she might have proclaimed, “Trees are the Earth’s endless effort to speak to the listening heaven.”
Sr. Julianne, we hold you to this endless prayer and love as we remember you, a woman who proclaimed:
“I slept and dreamt that life was joy.
I awoke and saw that life was service.
I acted and beheld service was joy.”
Reflection for the Funeral Mass of Sr. Julianne Diebold
By S. Toby Bonny
January 11, 2017
Isaiah 60: 1-3
Romans 14: 7-9
In the first reading from Isaiah, “Arise, shine for your light has come and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.” Sr. Julianne was that light! In later years she would be riding her red scooter with that smile of hers. After supper she was always ready to play Rummy Cube and no matter how she was feeling she was always felt good enough to play bingo! She was always grateful for whatever anyone did for her and prayed at mass for all those who took care of her. She was always willing to do something for someone else. And how she loved the children! She would ask me how Tyler was doing and asked Bonnie how Melody was as well. She brought that light to all she met.
In the second reading from Paul’s letter to the Romans, “We do not live for ourselves”. Sr. Julianne lived this! In a performance review from 1980, while Julianne was working at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Milwaukee as a Unit Clerk in the Intensive Care High Risk Nursery it was written and I quote “Sister’s presence in the nursery area provides assurance to the parents of infants, and also to the nursery staff and doctors. She has the reputation of being a courteous and meticulous employee who is appreciated by her fellow employees. Sister’s many skills are most enviable- whether it is decorating in good taste, cooking, sewing or mechanical repair she rates high. Because of this she spends many hours daily assisting those who are less versatile.” End quote. She did not live for herself but in service to others. She cared about others often asking “who will take care of you when you are old?” She took care of so many of us with our sewing needs. She really lived up to her title as “Our Lady of Perpetual Help”.
Ever the true Franciscan, she loved nature! She loved to observe nature especially when she was riding in the car. She took great pride in her flower garden. As a child she had a small patch in which she could plant flowers. Her mom said they had to plant vegetables because you can’t eat flowers! She loved to go to a nursery in Spring and pick out the flowers she would plant. It was a delight to be with her.
From the Gospel of John:
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God”. Julianne had that strong faith. She was a quiet prayerful woman. She loved community prayer. A true example for me of how to live the Religious life. Sr. Julianne truly lived the Gospel message. She had a way of making everyone feel that they were special.
As her health waned, Sr. Julianne was concerned that she might not go to heaven. My reply was if you can’t get into heaven, what about me? But as the Gospel continues: “In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be.”
And now our beloved Sr. Julianne you know this for yourself for indeed you were the good and faithful servant!