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Sharon Foley Bock has known the Adrian Dominican Sisters for more than 60 years, beginning with her education at Rosarian Academy in West Palm Beach, Florida. Her high school teachers impressed her with their joy, loving care for their students, prayer life, and dedication to their ministries.
By the time she was a junior, Sharon knew she wanted to become part of the Dominican family, so upon graduation, she entered the Congregation. She ministered as an Adrian Dominican Sister for 15 years. She withdrew from vowed life in 1976, but continued to maintain loyal friendships with many Adrian Dominican Sisters.
Sharon became an Associate in 2016. Asked “what took you so long?” she replied, “I think I always felt connected to the Congregation through my friendships with so many Sisters. I finally realized that I could be even more deeply involved in the life of the Congregation by ‘making it official’ and becoming an Associate.”
Now that she is an Associate, Sharon is indeed more deeply involved with the Congregation. She is an active participant in her Mission Group, Women of the Word, which meets in Phoenix, Arizona, three times a year. She also participates in the annual Dominican West Chapter Assemblies.
“Participating with the vowed and associate members in these groups is a great source of spiritual support,” Sharon said. “I always feel renewed and re-energized after we have spent time together in prayer, worship, study, and sistership.” She also makes financial contributions to the Congregation.
Regular contact with Mission Group members, as well as personal meditation and prayer, sustain her to create her own ministry to the Sisters and Associates. She and her husband celebrate Sunday liturgy in the home of a Franciscan priest, so, aside from her support of his ministry to the homeless, she doesn’t have parish opportunities.
Sharon lives with her husband and three cats and enjoys pursuing art, film, and reading – and otherwise satisfying her inquisitive nature. She is taking on more domestic responsibilities as her husband’s health starts to decline.
Inspired by a request from Mary Lach to send Christmas cards for distribution to the Sisters in Maria Hall, she decided to create a birthday card ministry. She started out creating and sending cards to those Sisters and now includes the Sisters and Associates in the Dominican West Chapter.
When asked how she seeks truth, makes peace and reverences life, she responds, “I hope the way I treat each person demonstrates my commitment to these values. I find that the current political environment in our nation compels me to speak out for the values I cherish. Though I am not one to march in protest, I remain active online with several entities that support these values."
Sharon resonates most strongly with the Enactment to deepen spirituality. She sets aside time each day for prayer and reflection and looks for opportunities to learn more about and deepen her own spirituality.
By Sharon Bock, Associate
Anyone who needs a straight-forward approach for promoting the Adrian Dominican Sisters may want to look at Associate Denise Dudley’s succinctly descriptive acronym, describing how the vowed members attracted her to Associate Life.
A - Accepting
D - Delightful
R - Refreshing
I - Inspiring
A - Awesome
N - Nurturing
Denise, of Winter Park, Florida, attends St. Margaret Mary Church, where she met Sister Rosemary Finnegan, OP. As their friendship grew, so did Denise’s interest in the Adrian Dominican Congregation. After spending a year in discernment, Denise determined that Associate Life was the path she should follow.
Surrounded by members of her Mission Group, family members, parish priests, and friends, Denise was welcomed into Associate Life in 2003. She credits her sustenance as an Associate to the supportive relationships she has with her Mission Group; other Associates, including Mary Lach, Director of Associate Life; her spiritual director; and her own prayer life.
An active member of Central Florida Mission Group, Denise participates in the quarterly gatherings and, on occasion, takes responsibility for preparing the group’s shared prayer. Her ministry – in addition to more than 20 years of employment as an auditor in the finance department for the Seminole County Clerk of the Circuit Court – is serving on the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) team at St. Margaret Mary. She serves as coordinator of sponsors and sponsored a young woman who celebrated her rites of initiation on Pentecost Sunday in 2017. Denise also sang in the church choir for more than 25 years.
Denise was born in Boston, Massachusetts. Her family moved in 1969 to Florida, where Denise graduated from high school and worked at Disney World in Orlando. Her career with Disney spanned 23 years and included working at Disneyland Paris in 1992.
Denise’s Dominican life is very rich with seeking truth in her everyday activities; making peace daily with family, co-workers and friends; and reverencing life through prayer, participation in liturgy and continued spiritual direction. The Enactment that most deeply resonates with Denise deals with spiritual longings. After two years of questioning and searching for her prayer life, Denise has renewed her prayerfulness with the help of a spiritual director and her sisters in mission.
She is an active supporter of the Adrian Dominican Sisters and Associates through her Mission Group, Partners (Associates) gatherings and Chapter Assemblies. Denise represents the Associates by speaking to groups at Barry University (Miami, Florida), where she shares not only her own struggles to find a prayerful life, but the richness she has received by being an active Adrian Dominican Associate. Who knows when a new Associate will become part of the Adrian Dominican family from hearing Denise’s endorsement?