The Awake Team Gathers to Connect and Look Ahead

Last weekend members of the Awake community gathered at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin for our third annual leadership gathering, which allowed the group to pray and reflect, socialize, and discern efforts for the year ahead.

Attendees included members of the Awake Leadership Team, Board of Directors, Survivor Advisory Panel, and an array of committed supporters, including more than a dozen people from across the United States who traveled to take part in person or attended the meeting virtually.  

“This annual gathering is always a wonderful time to build community, celebrate the ways that God is working through our ministry, and discern our path forward together,” says Sara Larson, Awake’s executive director. “Because most of Awake’s offerings are virtual, we especially valued the opportunity for many of us to be together in person, sharing food, conversation, and friendship. This gathering was a beautiful reminder that Awake’s good work is made possible by the gifts of so many amazing people who are invested in this mission.”

Members of the Awake community gathered at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin last weekend.

Reflecting on Our Core Values

One of the main events of the morning was a discussion of Awake’s recently developed Core Values, which express who we strive to be as an organization. Awake chaplain Cathy Melesky Dante led a prayer and reflection session that included quiet time for participants to consider which of the Awake values they are most drawn to, and how God might be speaking to them through the values.

Later, in small groups, attendees discussed how Awake expresses those values in our daily work as an organization, and how we can better live out the values in the coming year.

The State of Awake

Larson gave a talk about the “State of Awake,” sharing multiple high points of the last program year, including many new participants and continued growth in Awake’s programs. For example, she spoke about the fact that many new people with varied perspectives have joined the Awake community this year. She stressed that Awake’s ministry “is about people more than issues.”

Attendees included members of Awake’s Board of Directors and other committed supporters.

Larson also highlighted the many programs Awake provides, including offerings in the areas of education, prayer, advocacy, and survivor support. To expand our offerings to those who have experienced sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, Awake recently added a Survivor Circle for people who are no longer Catholic and is planning a summer retreat for survivors. This year, Awake also launched a new, expanded Survivor Advisory Panel that includes victim-survivors from around the United States.

Larson’s presentation included an update on Awake’s ongoing strategic planning process and fundraising efforts.   


Given that so many of Awake’s events are held virtually, it was a joy to meet in person.

Patron Saints for Awake?

Attendees spent time considering possible patron saints for Awake. Lynn Charnitz and Elizabeth Schick of the Awake Leadership Team and Esther Harber, Survivor Circle coordinator, shared information about 12 different saints who could make fitting patron saints for the organization. After learning about the saints, participants shared which saints they were most drawn to most.

A committee will continue to work to select a smaller number of saints to rely on for both inspiration and intercession. Stay tuned for news on this front in the months ahead.

Jim Sponholz, one of the newest additions to Awake’s Board of Directors, called the day “prayerful and joyful.” 

“With every issue that came up Saturday, it was the best interests of survivors that guided the discussion,” he said. “That is truly the spirit of Awake!”

3 thoughts on “The Awake Team Gathers to Connect and Look Ahead

  1. Merci pour la traduction en français trouvé ce soir au bas de votre site ! Cela permet de vous suivre plus facilement depuis la France !

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s