It is not possible to name all the people who have contributed to our existence and growth. We focus below on three “pioneers.”

In the 1970s, Stanley Zawacki was one of several men, all veterans of the Cursillo movement, who started Residents Encounter Christ retreats in Upstate New York men’s prisons. Stan’s wife, Veronica (Ronnie), joined the REC team several years later when women were allowed to volunteer during retreats. Over time Stan, who was a Catholic deacon and a Xerox Corp. community relations manager, and his wife participated in retreats at 17 different prisons. Stan died at age 55 in 1994.

Ronnie Zawacki then worked with volunteer Barbara Sanderson on REC weekends and also on Fully Alive, a separate prison ministry for women. For more than 30 years these remarkable women have supported our ministries in every possible way: by staffing retreats, praying for prisoners, providing financial support, and encouraging others to join our prison ministry programs, which have expanded to include Houses of Healing and Power Source programs.

Thanks to these pioneers and to all our dedicated volunteers!

Learn more about our organization and our ministries.