Petawa Cultural Center
In 1957, the first Opus Dei women's center opened in Milwaukee in a small flat on Milwaukee's south side. The center quickly outgrew the flat and relocated into a house in Wauwatosa. By the late 1990s, the center was seeking a new, larger space to accommodate growing popularity of its programs. At the same time, the Archdiocese of Milwaukee was seeking to sell a building on Astor St. where they ran a secretarial school for women. In 1959, the women bought the building on Milwaukee's lower east side for just $1 and renamed it Petawa Residence. Petawa continued offering formative activities to women of all ages as well starting a residence for young women attending local colleges.

Today Petawa offers women a variety of activities that integrate all aspects of human development. It continues to offer women college students and young professional women a warm and nurturing place to live, develop friendships, and nurture their faith.

For more background on Petawa, click here.

Leadership Team

Petawa Staff

Mary Jane Markel, Executive Director
Jeannie Meier, Women's Programs Director
Kate Meyer, Youth Programs Coordinator

Board of Directors and Officers


Chair: Linda Pryor

Vice-Chair: Mary Magnor

Executive Director: Mary Jane Markel

Secretary: Jeanne Meier

Treasurer: Pilar Racca

Board Members

Beth Griffin

Janet Smyczek

John D. Tripoli

Laura Roman


Petawa is a registered 501c3 nonprofit organization. Its EIN number is 39-1987362.