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Listening & Learning: Stories of Survivors

Pope Francis:

"I encourage you to listen to the cry of the victims and to dedicate yourselves, with each other and with society in a broader sense, in these important discussions because they truly touch the future...not only the Church’s future, but the hearts of Christians as well. This is our responsibility."

Video Message to the Participants in the meeting "Our Common Mission of Safeguarding God's Children" September 19, 2021

We are listening, we are learning

Our efforts of Hope and Healing start with listening and learning from the perspectives of victims survivors of abuse. Whenever someone comes forward with a story, it is an opportunity to apologize for the harm done and offer support and guidance on the road forward. We recognize that each person's story is unique, each person's process of healing is unique, and each person is at a different point in that process.

This page offers insights into what we've heard from survivors. There is an open invitation to any victim survivor of abuse (whether that is sexual abuse by clergy or any other form of abuse) to share your insights with us. Your thoughts deepen our knowledge on how to proceed and may encourage others to seek healing in their own way.

Thank you to those who have contributed to this page.

What I Want Catholics to Understand: A Conversation with Abuse Survivors

On September 22, 2022, members of our Diocesan Hope and Healing Committee participated in Awake Milwaukee's online conversation featuring a panel of survivors who spoke about what they wanted Catholics to understand.


  • The way we pray is what we believe. Include petitions to the Prayer of the Faithful for the healing of survivors.

  • Don't underestimate the power of prayer, pray with a survivor of abuse, pray for survivors.

  • Put an action plan in place in your parish and diocese.

  • Educate ourselves to be trauma-informed.

Our Conversations

We cannot understand if or how we can help survivors unless we hear from them.

The Hope and Healing Committee has been reaching out to survivors who are willing to help us navigate the path forward. With their permission, we are sharing their stories so others can understand.

A Conversation with a Survivor: Elements of a Healing Homily (March 7, 2024)

A Conversation with Mike Koplinka-Loeher (November 16, 2023)

A Conversation with Linda Sano (January 19, 2023)

A Conversation with Stephen Peacock (December 15, 2022)

A Conversation with Charles Bailey (November 10, 2022)

A Conversation with Ringo Halliday (September 13, 2022)

Impacts of Abuse

The impacts may vary for each survivor. We are grateful to those who are willing to share. Their sharing, enables us to be more sensitive to their needs as we journey with them on a path to healing. It is important to remember, every heals differently. It's a personal journey. 

Impacts of Childhood Sexual Abuse as summarized by one male survivor, from Upstate New York, age 66

An Invitation

There is an open invitation to hear from you. We are grateful for the courage and insights of survivors who are at a point in their healing journey to step forward and share in a way that is comfortable.

Please contact us: assistance.coordinator@rcda.org

To make a report of current or past abuse, please visit Make a Report