The Life of Adeline Hill Ostwalt


Adeline's Parents and Faith

Because she was born into a minister's family and was baptized before she was even one year old, Adeline was raised to be a faithful Christian. As she grew up, her mother read her and her siblings Bible stories. The Hills had prayers every morning; they read the scripture and discussed its meaning as a family.

When Adeline finished college and went to take a job, there were three things her parents asked her to do: To join a church, to establish her credit, and to tithe. These three principles have stuck with Adeline throughout her life. Wherever she moved, she joined a church and became an active member of the church. Currently, she is a member of Davidson College Presbyterian Church.


Her Daily Devotional

A friend gave her a book of daily devotional, A Diary of Private Prayer, in 1945, and since then, Adeline has been using it in her daily prayer. She jots down her reflection and prayers in the blank pages and has given some copies with her notes to her friends on Easter. She does not schedule anything in the morning and devotes her morning for prayers. She reads the Bible, the devotional book, and her prayers. She is amazed every day by how the prayers in the devotional fit with what she does, thinks, and tries to decide that day.

"Sometimes, God speaks to us when we least expect him to." - Adeline Ostwalt

Adeline says that things would have been much more difficult if she did not have her faith when Dr. Ostwalt passed away. However, her faith in God and resurrection assured her that she and her husband will be together again. Also, she is not afraid of death because her faith is strong and comforts her.

Her Bible and the diary
A Diary of Private Prayer
Inside the diary
Her bible and the daily devotional book
Photos courtesy of Oh-jin Kwon

Faith and Teaching

Because of her faith that everyone is the same in God's eyes, Adeline tried to treat everyone equally. Her faith helped her understand human nature better and gave her more love and patience according to the teachings of the Bible.


Her Favorite Passage from the Bible and Favorite Hymn

In Sunday schools and vacation church schools, Adeline memorized numerous passages from the Bible and still can recite most of them. She has a long list of favorite passages from the Bible, and Psalm 121 is one of them. Click on the play button below to listen to Adeline reciting her favorite scripture passage, Psalm 121.

Adeline also has a long list of favorite hymns, and one of them is Joyful, joyful, We Adore Thee.

Joyful, joyful, we adore Thee, God of glory, Lord of love;
Hearts unfold like flowers before Thee, opening to the sun above.
Melt the clouds of sin and sadness; drive the dark of doubt away;
Giver of immortal gladness, fill us with the light of day!

All Thy works with joy surround Thee, earth and heaven reflect Thy rays,
Stars and angels sing around Thee, center of unbroken praise.
Field and forest, vale and mountain, flowery meadow, flashing sea,
Singing bird and flowing fountain call us to rejoice in Thee.

Thou art giving and forgiving, ever blessing, ever blessed,
Wellspring of the joy of living, ocean depth of happy rest!
Thou our Father, Christ our Brother, all who live in love are Thine;
Teach us how to love each other, lift us to the joy divine.

Mortals, join the happy chorus, which the morning stars began;
Father love is reigning o’er us, brother love binds man to man.
Ever singing, march we onward, victors in the midst of strife,
Joyful music leads us Sunward in the triumph song of life.

Lyrics courtesy of the Cyber Hymnal website (

The text, video, audio, and website are the result of interviews conducted by Oh-jin Kwon,
Davidson College Class of 2008, in the Fall of 2007.
© 2007 Kristi S. Multhaup, Ph.D. | Davidson College | Davidson, NC 28035 | Phone: 704.894.2008
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