Q: What is Casa Romero Renewal Center?
A: With the vision of a peaceful, just and sustainable society in which every person can achieve their divinely inspired potential, Casa Romero Renewal Center is an urban, bilingual spirituality center whose mission is to form and renew individuals, strengthen families, and build community in the Ignatian tradition.
Q: Who do you serve?
A: Casa Romero Renewal Center primarily, but not exclusively, serves low-income, 1st and 2nd generation Latino families in Milwaukee’s central-city. Our programs aim at a grass-roots formation process for youth and families. Because family is so central to Hispanic cultures, Casa Romero sees family life as the point of entry and heart for all its programs. Our youth and family programming is designed to guarantee a future of leaders who are grounded in practical virtues of character: the building blocks of strong, supportive, healthy communities.
Q: How can I sign up for one of your retreats?
A: Most of our retreats are arranged through schools and other organizations. However, others are open to the public. These include our Quinceañera daughter/mother retreats, our Spiritual Mentoring program, our From Promise to Resurrection Lenten Retreats, and our Ponerse a Caminar (in Spanish) retreats. Another very popular program is our Urban Plunge experience, designed for parish groups, as well as college and/or high school groups from throughout the Midwest who are interested in learning more about social justice issues such as poverty, homelessness, immigration, and the environment. Call Casa Romero at 414-224-7564 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Q: Do you have overnight facilities?
A: We have three dormitory style bedrooms on our second floor, and are able to accommodate about 14 people overnight. (For teens who don’t mind camping out on the floor, we can handle about 25, total.) We have a lovely dining area in the lower level. Although we don’t provide meals for overnight retreats, our guests have the use of our fully equipped kitchen. We are located in the heart of what is becoming known as Milwaukee’s “Latin Quarter”, an area of many ethnic restaurants (from cheap to exquisite), and there are many carry-out and delivery food options as well.
Q: Is Casa Romero part of a parish or an Archdiocesan program?
A: Casa Romero is not affiliated with, nor an extension of a parish. Though listed by the Archdiocese of Milwaukee as a Catholic retreat center within the archdiocese and considered one of five retreat houses at work in the Wisconsin Province of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits), the center is neither financially supported by either the archdiocese nor the Jesuits or any other entity. We raise our funds through grants, individual donations, special events, program fees, and the free-will offerings of participants.
Q: Where is Casa Romero located?
A: Casa Romero Renewal Center is housed in a historic School Sister of Notre Dame convent built in 1888 in a neighborhood that was then largely populated by German, Polish, Irish and Italian immigrants. Today the neighborhood is heavily populated by 1st and 2nd generation Latino immigrant families. Located on Milwaukee’s near south side, the Retreat Center address is 423 W. Bruce Street. Our Administrative Offices are located at 2604 W. Orchard St.
Q: What’s the significance of the name “Casa Romero”?
A: The center is named in honor of Archbishop Oscar Romero, the bishop-martyr of San Salvador, El Salvador. Assassinated on March 24, 1980 as he celebrated Mass, Bishop Romero was known as an advocate for his people: “You are the voice of those who have no voice,” Fr. Rutilio Grande, SJ once told him. Inspired by the Archbishop’s example, Casa Romero also seeks to be a voice for those who have no voice.
Q: What do you need? How can I help?
A: Our needs are many. First and foremost, a financial contribution of any size is ALWAYS appreciated. See our “How to Help” page for more information. We also have need throughout the year for volunteers to help out in these and other areas:
Meal Ministry – We provide the food and beverages for a simple spaghetti lunch. Your group of three or four (a family, scout troop, other group) prepares and serves a Saturday lunch for a retreat group – about a three hour project from beginning to end.
Ministry of Gardening – Casa Romero has a lovely Meditation Garden at the rear of the house. Various small groups have helped us in the past with springtime preparation and/or fall cleanup.
Communications/Marketing – From time to time we have a need for volunteers to do data entry (usually in a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet) or make phone calls for various mailings and projects. This can be done either here at Casa Romero on one of our staff computers, or from home, using your own equipment.
Special Events – Casa Romero hosts a benefit fundraiser gala event, usually in the spring of the year. We rely on a large group of volunteers to plan the event, set things up on, greet and assist our many guests, and provide clean-up.
The ability to communicate in Spanish is NOT needed for most volunteer opportunities. For more information call Casa Romero at 414-224-7564 or email us at email@example.com.
Q: What was the vision that led to the founding of Casa Romero?
A: In June, 1996, Fr. David Shields, SJ was making his annual retreat at the Jesuit Retreat House in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. One evening, as the summer sun set over lovely Lake Winnebago, Fr. Shields was listening to the story of the martyrs of the University of Central America (the six Jesuits and two women) in El Salvador. Deeply moved by what he heard, he uttered a barely articulated prayer to participate in the graces of this event. The moment passed. Life went on. But in retrospect, Fr. Shield’s remains convinced that Casa Romero is the fruit and answer to that halting lakeside prayer, “I want some of that.”