Sister Darlene Denton, an Ursuline Sister of Mount Saint Joseph, spent 13 years on the board of Shively Area Ministries, never tiring in her desire to help the agency that serves the disadvantaged in a blue collar section of Louisville, Ky.
When Sister Darlene died on Sept. 5 at age 63, Shively Area Ministries refused to let her spirit go. On Sept. 29, during its Fall Event Fundraiser, the first Sister Darlene Make A Difference Award was presented in her honor to Sister Jean Anne Zappa, an Ursuline Sister of Louisville who has served as the agency’s mission advancement director since 2009.
“When Sister Darlene was told that Sister Jean Anne wanted to help us raise funds, Sister Darlene said with confidence and excitement, ‘God really does love us!’” said Roxanna Trivitt, executive director of Shively Area Ministries.
“Sister Jean Anne’s passionate leadership has advanced our mission by creating our VISION 25 campaign to reduce building debt, add much needed space to the food pantry, and increase and sustain program resources,” Trivitt said.“We thank God for Sister Jean Anne’s diligent and successful work at increasing the capacity of Shively Area Ministries to help more people in need than ever before.How fitting to award Sister Jean Anne, who picked up the baton from Sister Darlene and who continues to run the race to serve the poor.”
The Ursuline Sisters of Mount Saint Joseph were represented at the event by Sister Grace Simpson, who lived with Sister Darlene, and Sister Joan Riedley, who ministered with Sister Darlene at Mary Queen of Peace Parish in Louisville.
Shively Area Ministries serves an area consisting of 43,000 people, but its previous location was in a residential area with no sidewalks and no bus service. After a five-year search, Sister Darlene found a building on the highly traveled Dixie Highway with much more room for the expanding program. The agency moved there in 2008.
“Shively Area Ministries would not be what it is today without Sister Darlene’s visionary leadership,” Trivitt said in announcing the creation of the award. “She had what I like to call, ‘stubborn righteousness.’ She wouldn’t give up finding us a new place that would further our mission of serving people in poverty and crisis. I thank God that He allowed her to see our dream come true.”
The Sister Darlene Make A Difference Award will be presented annually to a staff member or volunteer whose visionary leadership results in a positive change for Shively Area Ministry’s mission. “The person receiving this award will demonstrate effective leadership and encourage growth and development in their area of work,” Trivitt said.
Shively Area Ministries began 23 years ago, and now has 26 churches from a dozen denominations helping to operate a food pantry, a clothes closet, prescription assistance, counseling, financial assistance and other services to the disadvantaged in the Shively area.
To learn more about Shively Area Ministries, visit its website, http://www.shivelyareaministries.com/.