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What Should I Do If Someone Tells Me They’ve Been Abused? The 5-Step VEEEL Method

This week we revisit this terrific advice from Deborah Rodriguez, MD, who spells out how to respond if someone discloses their abuse to you. It’s helpful for anyone who wants to respond to victim-survivors with healing compassion. During Awake’s Courageous Conversation in May 2022, “Trauma and Resilience in the Body of Christ,” panelist Deborah Rodriguez,…

Courageous Conversation: Panel Reveals the Impact of Clergy Sexual Abuse on Families

By Anselma Dolcich-AshleyGuest Writer Awake’s January Courageous Conversation provided an opportunity to listen to a mother, a husband, and a daughter of victim-survivors of abuse. The conversation “Family Matters: How Abuse Wounds the Loved Ones of Victim-Survivors,” featured Jerri von den Bosch (above, middle), a member of the Awake Leadership Team and Board of Directors,…

Survivor Story: Esther Harber

“That profound understanding that I am not alone takes a great deal of the shame away. ” Esther Harber, 39, is a devoted Catholic, mother, and wife, and a convert from a fundamentalist Protestant denomination. Originally from Texas, she has moved around a lot and now lives in Ohio. She spent several years as a…

Case of Prominent Jesuit Highlights Church Failures Around Abuse of Adults 

The case of Fr. Marko Rupnik, a prominent Jesuit priest who has been accused of sexual and spiritual abuse of religious women, suggests that the Church hierarchy remains unwilling to take the abuse of adults seriously. Rupnik, 68, is a Slovenian theologian and artist known for his religious mosaics, which are installed in chapels around…

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…

Awake’s Advent Prayer Service Reflects on the Holy Darkness of the Season

Last week, Awake offered a short, moving Advent prayer service titled “Holy Darkness.” It featured four parts based on the four weeks of Advent, including music, readings, questions for reflection, and silent time for prayer and contemplation. A recording of the 30-minute prayer service—ideal for praying at home in this last week of Advent—is available…

Interview with Fr. Tom Berg: 3 Ways the Abuse Crisis has Changed Seminary Formation

Fr. Tom Berg has particular insight into the crisis of sexual abuse and cover-up in the Catholic Church. He spent 23 years of religious life, including nine years as an ordained priest, as a member of the Legionaries of Christ. The legion’s founder and director general Marcial Maciel Degollado was forced to step down in…

Awake Announces Newly Expanded Survivor Advisory Panel 

Listening to survivors has always been a priority for Awake Milwaukee. In our earliest days, before we had even chosen the name “Awake,” we gathered in Sara and Mike Larson’s living room in Milwaukee to listen to a woman who was abused by a priest in grade school. This survivor described her hard work to…

5 Things Every Priest Should Know About Sexual Abuse

One weekend at a friend’s house, I ran into a priest friend who asked with some concern about my wife, Sara, who is the executive director of Awake Milwaukee. It quickly became apparent that he had read some of her Read more

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