Our mission is to awaken our community to the full reality of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church and work for transformation and healing in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee and beyond.

Awake began to take shape in March 2019, when a small group of Milwaukee-area Catholics gathered in a living room to talk about the Church’s sexual abuse crisis.   

United in grief and anger about the abuse suffered by victims and the leadership failures that protected abusers, we began considering actions we could take to push for change and work toward healing in the Church we love. 

We quickly realized how much we have to learn, especially about the experiences of abuse victims and their families. We now recognize that many survivors have struggled alone for years without support or acknowledgement from Catholics in the pews, and we hope to help change that.

We are an independent nonprofit organization, not affiliated with any particular parish or with the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, but we aim to work in collaboration with the entire Church to serve the people of God. A few of us work or have worked in ministry, but most come from other fields, including nonprofit management, IT, law, business, journalism, and education. 

Although we represent a variety of experiences and perspectives, we share a deep conviction that we are the Church, the body of Christ. We believe the health of this body depends on lay and ordained Catholics working together in partnership toward transformation and healing.


  • We are committed to hearing the voices and wisdom of survivors who have experienced abuse in our Church.
  • We value the diverse perspectives of members of our Church, both lay and ordained, and welcome the contributions of all.
  • Most importantly, we listen for the whisper of the Holy Spirit to guide us on this journey.


  • Many of us are just beginning to wake up to this tragedy, so we prioritize learning and becoming well-informed.
  • We strive to identify the changes in our church culture that are necessary for us to more effectively live out the mission of Jesus Christ.
  • We seek wide-ranging expertise and best practices so that we may help our Church discern the way forward.


  • As active participants in Catholic life in our Archdiocese, we are answering the call of Archbishop Jerome Listecki to “lead within the Church.”
  • We intend to create opportunities for education, honest conversation, prayer, thoughtful advocacy, and support for survivors.
  • In a spirit of humility, we aim to serve the Church we love.

Read more about the Awake Mission »