Awake’s Top Blog Posts of 2022

As we turn the page on a new year, we at Awake value the chance to look back over the last 12 months to see which posts were read most by the Awake community. This data reveals a lot about the topics that matter most to you. These popular posts include compelling personal stories from victim-survivors, a summary of our powerful panel discussion about how abuse survivors can heal in the aftermath of their trauma, and the thought-provoking post, “5 Things Every Priest Should Know About Sexual Abuse,” written by Mike Larson of our Leadership Team.

These posts also detail some of Awake’s most important projects this year, including our synod sessions designed to center the voices of victim-survivors and our “Next Steps” recommendations for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee.

In case you missed any of these stories, we link them here. Please read and share any that resonate for you. We’re grateful to all who engage with Awake’s posts, offering their comments and ideas and hopes for a Catholic Church that is safe and supportive. Please keep reading; we’re working on more important stories to share with you in 2023.

—Erin O’Donnell, Editor, Awake Blog

Survivor Story Series
In 2022 we launched a new monthly Survivor Stories series, which gives victim-survivors in the Awake community a chance to share their stories, including their ongoing efforts to heal. We are honored to share these stories on the blog once a month. Stories from Zac, Deborah, Carol, Bill, Kathryn, and Michael are found here.

Is the Catholic Church Beginning to Address the Abuse of Adults?
Last January we noted two developments that suggest that the Church may be giving the abuse of adults by clergy and church leaders greater attention. The following week we spoke to victim-survivors about these changes and heard a mix of hope, skepticism, and mistrust.

5 Things Every Priest Should Know About Sexual Abuse
In this thoughtful post, Mike Larson of the Awake Leadership Team describes a brief but difficult conversation he had with a priest friend about the twin crises of sexual abuse and leadership failures in the Church. He then offers five things he wants all priests to know about abuse in the Church.

Courageous Conversation: Abuse Survivors Can Heal—and Thrive—In the Aftermath of Trauma
Here we summarize our May Courageous Conversation on the topic of trauma. Our guests were Deborah Rodriguez, MD, who is a survivor of complex childhood trauma, including abuse by a priest, and Regina Boyd, an experienced licensed mental health counselor. They shared valuable information about trauma and discussed post-traumatic growth.

Awake Welcomes Five New Members to Its Board of Directors
Awake was pleased to double the size of its Board of Directors this year. This post introduced our community to the newest board members, who bring tremendous skills, wisdom, and resources to the organization. 

Researchers Seek Information About Jesuit Daniel Kenney, the “Monkey Priest” with Milwaukee Connections
We spoke with an academic researcher studying a Jesuit priest credibly accused of sexually abusing boys at a Catholic school in Omaha, Nebraska. The priest also spent time in Milwaukee. One of the goals of this project is to understand the decision-making by Jesuit leaders and the institutional culture that set the stage for abuse.

Awake Unveils Next-Step Recommendations for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee
In September, Awake released a series of recommendations to help our local Church take further steps to address sexual abuse. We explain each of the recommendations, which are the result of listening to survivors and researching best practices in other dioceses.  

6 Things Never to Say About Survivors of Clergy Abuse
Jerri von den Bosch of the Awake Leadership Team, whose mother is an abuse survivor, shares a list of hurtful comments she has heard from well-meaning Catholics. Von den Bosch then offers ideas of how to respond to such comments.

Awake Shares Final Report from June Synod Sessions
Awake hosted two synod sessions in June as part of the global listening initiative of the Catholic Church. These gatherings were designed to center the voices of women and men who have experienced sexual abuse by Catholic leaders. In our most popular blog post of 2022, we highlight the ten themes we heard most often during these conversations.   

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