Salvatorian Sister Diane Goetzinger had a special place in her heart for the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. As with all her outreach to people in need over many years, she served with a smile, joy in her heart and quiet dedication.
Diane was born the second of five children to Henry and Marcia (Giese) Goetzinger in Milwaukee on November 28, 1939. Diane was happy, active and free-spirited. Her love for reading found in childhood lasted her lifetime. Diane attended St. Joseph’s School staffed by Notre Dame Sisters. She came to know the Salvatorian Sisters after her family moved and she was enrolled at Mother of Good Counsel School in the sixth grade. She always knew she wanted to become a sister. After the preps from St. Mary’s Convent visited the Good Counsel Club members, she found where she belonged.
Diane enrolled in the prep school in Milwaukee on September 7, 1954, and two years later entered the Sisters of the Divine Savior. When she became a novice on August 12, 1957 she received the name Mary Louis. Sr. Diane professed first vows on August 13, 1958 and final vows on August 13, 1964. After profession, she studied at Divine Savior College for one year. In 1967, she earned her bachelor’s degree in education at Milwaukee’s Alverno College.
Sr. Diane began teaching in 1959, a ministry that spanned 20 years. She taught in Wisconsin at St. Therese, Schofield; St. George, Sheboygan Falls; and St. Pius X, in Wauwatosa. She also taught in Landover Hills and Beltsville, Maryland.
In 1979, Sr. Diane began an 11-year ministry caring for elder sisters at Salvatorian Heights in Milwaukee. To prepare for her new ministry, she earned a minor in Gerontology at Mount Mary College. She also served on the Inter-Community Retirement Committee and attended many workshops and conferences to enhance her ministry to aging Salvatorian Sisters. Sr. Diane had genuine enthusiasm for elder care ministry. She enjoyed the Sisters and laughed with them over the idiosyncrasies of life. She cherished her memories of elder Sisters, their goodness, sense of humor and gracious acceptance of aging.
In 1991 Sr. Diane joined the staff at Mother of Good Counsel Parish. She described her role of Outreach to the Elderly and Homebound saying, “I offer companionship. I love the people and each one is dear to me. I am always amazed at how courageous they are and what they have lived through. They open their homes and their lives to me. This is a ministry that involves great trust and they know that whatever they share with me is held in confidence.”
In that ministry she held membership in the Association of Pastoral Ministries to the Aging and served with Catholic Charities’ Parish Partnership Committee. She was the staff liaison to St. Vincent de Paul Social Concerns Committee as well as spiritual director for its members. Serving on the board of Northwest Interfaith, she also attended Interfaith Conference and the Conference on Aging. She ministered at Mother of Good Counsel until 2009.
In addition, Sr. Diane served on the province Needs Committee and the Collaborative Development of the Lay Salvatorian Program. For 10 years, she coordinated the Salvatorian Sisters’ service with St. Ben’s Meal Program, and served on the Salvatorian Regional Board in Milwaukee. After retiring from active ministry, Sister Diane volunteered at the Community House reception desk and dedicated many hours’ hand writing thank-you notes for donations received in the Mission Advancement Office. Throughout her diverse ministries over the years, she continued her commitment to the St. Vincent de Paul Society.
Sister Diane focused on the positive experiences in all her ministries. She was grateful for continuing education opportunities, yearly retreats, and community life with her Salvatorian Sisters. She credited life in community with strengthening her own spirituality, saying, “Through faith sharing, I have a deeper knowledge of my faith and have become closer to God.”
Sister Diane died peacefully the morning of October 8, 2017 with Sisters Virginia Honish, Beverly Heitke, Mary Jo Stoffel and Betty Vetter at her side. She was 77 years old and professed for 59 years. She was preceded in death by her parents, Henry & Marcia (Giese) Goetzinger, and brothers-in-law, Elmore Draeger and Max Lukasavitz. She is survived by her sisters, Joyce Lukasavitz and Janice Draeger; brothers, Thomas (Betty), Louis (Karen), many nieces and nephews and her Salvatorian Family.