This Mission is Personal

Everyone in the Awake community has a story - a reason why the issue of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church matters so much to us, why we're putting our time and energy and hearts into the mission of Awake.

This week's blog post shares one of those stories - from leadership team member Patty Ingrilli, who connected with Awake after making a startling discovery about her own family. You can read more about her journey here.

Patty is not the only one in this community who has shared her experiences recently:
Our speakers for next week's Courageous Conversation come to share their own stories, and I hope you are planning to join us so you can listen and learn from their experiences.

I would also encourage you to consider your own story. What is the reason you care about the twin crises of sexual abuse and leadership failures in the Catholic Church? How have you been awakened to the full reality of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church? Why do you want to work for transformation and healing? When life is busy or we feel discouraged, reconnecting with our own stories can renew our motivation and refresh our hope.

If you have a story to share, I would love to hear from you. You can reach me anytime at

Let's honor these stories, and the God who guides them, together.

Sara Larson
Executive Director, Awake Milwaukee


Blog Post: Checking the List of Abusive Priests Gave Me a Shock—and a Wake Up Call

“One of the questions that I am frequently asked about my involvement with Awake Milwaukee is 'Why?' Why does a busy working mom of three boys feel so passionately about waking people up to the full reality of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church? Given the demands of my life, why add this to my plate?

For me, this is personal. In January 2019, I was reviewing the Diocese of Green Bay’s list of the priests with substantiated allegations of the sexual abuse of a minor, to see if Loren Nyes, a priest from my old parish, was listed. He was a Salvadorian who had been removed from ministry due to abuse. I was extremely angry to see that his name wasn’t included, not because he hadn’t sexually abused a minor, but because he was a priest from a religious order and the abuse took place in another diocese. 

As I continued reading the list, another name jumped out at me. This time it was Alphonso Wagner, my great uncle, the man who was my dad’s godfather. I sat there, stunned, as I read and reread the name and the history of ministry. He was listed with multiple substantiated allegations; he had frequently been moved between parishes. He eventually was placed on sick leave and moved to the Diocese of Davenport in Iowa for the eight years proceeding his death.

I was shocked. How could this be? How could someone who held such a place of honor in my family have sexually abused minors? I remembered my grandmother lovingly talking about her brother, Reverend Uncle. The cross that had been given to him at his orientation to the seminary was hanging over the entryway of my childhood home to bless us as we came and went..."

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 Please Join Us In Prayer

Thank you for your continued commitment to uniting with Awake through prayer.
We have had a number of new survivors reach out to Awake in the last few weeks, so today we ask you to pray for these men and women. Please pray for God's strength and peace for these survivors - and that the Lord will guide us in the best way to walk with each one of them.

Please also pray for any survivors who are seeking community and support - that God will lead them to find what they need.
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