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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?
Why I'm an Associate
by Denise Dudley
I grew up in the Boston area and was taught by the Sisters of Charity from 1960 to 1969. My mom's sister was a nun in the Presentation of Mary Order, and my mom's best friend is celebrating 75 years as a vowed member in the Good Shepherd Order. Wonderful women, outstanding orders!
After moving to Florida and settling in the Winter park area, I joined St. Margaret Mary Catholic Church. There I met Sister Rosemary Finnegan, an Adrian Dominican Sister. I was embraced with her spirit, her compassion, and her kindness to me. That was about 25 years ago! I became an Associate in 2003, and am an Associate, because I caught that spirit!
Yes, there were and will be bumps in the road, but with the guidance of the Sisters, my spiritual director, and the Director of Associate Life, the stepping stones of life will lead me to the balance that I have been searching for in my church life, my spiritual life, and my Associate life!
"Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire." - St. Catherine of Siena