Sister Diane moved to LA with her family in 1935. She went to UCLA and majored in political science. In 1953 she visited India, , where her observations of extreme poverty greatly influenced her philosophy and life. In 1955 she entered the Sisters of Social Service, a Catholic order devoted to serving the poor. In 1969 she received a Master of Social Work degree UC-Berkeley. She went on to work as the director of a residential treatment center for adolescents with mental health issues in Sacramento, and then as the co-sponsor/director of a residential center for heroin-addicted women in South Central Los Angeles. Following a year of sabbatical studies at the UC-Berkeley Graduate Theological Union, Sister Diane became a Community Organizer for St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church in South Central Los Angeles in 1985.