The Passionate Teacher with Dancing Hands

“You are a woman of wisdom and we thank you for sharing with us the wisdom that comes from experience and reflection,” said Sister Stephanie Schmidt to Sister Dianne Bergant, CSA at the end of community weekend. Sister Dianne, her hands dancing with expression, shared her expertise in the Old Testament with the community and oblates in several sessions dedicated to the Old Testament Wisdom Tradition. She pointed out that “wisdom results from reflecting on personal experience and the wise person is the person who has survived life.”

Over the course of the weekend, Sister Dianne touched on Proverbs but spent most of her time on the Books of Job and Qoheleth. “Wisdom tradition begins with human experience and that becomes clear as Job struggles with questions of human suffering and justice,” explained Sister Dianne. “But God refocuses Job’s attention to the splendor and magnificence of natural creation.” Though it is often patience we associate with Job Sister Dianne pointed out that Job is really only patient in a couple of the book’s chapters and the rest of the time he is impatient and questions God. Using examples from nature and animals, Sister Dianne was able to point out that humans have limitations and there are some things that humans are not able to control or understand. Ultimately, humans are challenged to simply trust God.

“We go away from the weekend blessed,” said Sister Anne Wambach, prioress. “Sister Dianne is a gifted teacher and a woman of deep spiritual insight who is passionate about sharing her knowledge. She truly helped us to engage and understand many sections of biblical text in new and enriching ways.”

Dianne Bergant, CSA is Carroll Stuhlmueller, CP Distinguished Professor Emerita of Biblical Studies at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago. She was President of the Catholic Biblical Association of America (2000-01) and has been an active member of the Chicago Catholic/Jewish Scholars Dialogue for the past thirty years. For more than twenty-five years she has been the Old Testament book reviewer of The Bible Today, having been a member of the editorial board for twenty-five years. She is currently working in the areas of biblical interpretation and biblical theology, particularly issues of peace, ecology and feminism.