Petawa Residence and 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 new operators for their small university residence for women called the Petawa Residence. The residence, which was created in 1959, was located at 1331 N. Astor St. on Milwaukee's lower east side and housed young Catholic women attending local colleges.


In 2000, the women's center purchased the Petawa Residence building from the Archdiocese for just $1 and assumed operation of the residence.  The center renamed itself - and the building - the Petawa Residence and Cultural Center.  Petawa became a registered 501c3 nonprofit in 2000.


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

Board of Directors and Officers


Chair: Linda Pryor

Vice-Chair: Mary Magnor

Board Members

Lena Raffin

Sheila Hamill

Beth Griffin

Jim Jossart

Janet Smyczek

Giselle Castillo

Pila Racca 

Jeanne Meier

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

Petawa Residence & Cultural Center, Inc.

1331 N Astor St

Milwaukee, WI 53202

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