Social justice visionary and distinguished alumna to speak at Wake Forest on Sept. 8

by C. Mark Batten, Office of Communications

killian.noeKathy “Killian” Noe (’80), founder of Recovery Café, a therapeutic community for men and women recovering from homelessness, addiction and other mental health challenges in Seattle, Washington, will deliver Wake Forest University School of Divinity’s Fall Convocation address on Thursday, Sept. 8. Her remarks are titled, “What The World Needs Now: Building Authentic Community.”

Noe, a 2015 recipient of the Wake Forest University Distinguished Alumni Award, is a strong believer in healing communities. She has travelled around the world visiting communities in India, Nicaragua, France, and Asia studying community models.  In addition to her work with Recovery Café, she is also pastor and founder of New Creation Community in Seattle, an ecumenical faith community committed to contemplation and action.

Noe’s work, however, began on the east coast. Prior to her move to Seattle, she co-founded Samaritan Inns in Washington, D.C., which offers intensive transitional and longer term healing communities for those recovering from homelessness and addiction. She directed it from 1985 to 1999.

“I heard Killian speak when she received the Distinguished Alumni award and my immediate response was that I wanted students to have the opportunity to be in her presence,” said Gail R. O’Day, Dean of the School of Divinity. “Killian’s ministry perfectly embodies what the School of Divinity hopes our graduates will contribute in their ministries.  She is a powerful and fearless advocate for all of God’s children.”

Noe received an honorary doctorate in 2015 from Seattle University and has also been honored with a Distinguished Alumni Award from Yale Divinity School. She is the author of Finding Our Way Home: Addictions and Divine Love (2001) and Descent Into Love (2015). Noe is ordained by the ecumenical Church of the Savior.

“My dad, a 1944 graduate of Wake Forest who died a year and a half ago, would get a kick out of this opportunity I’ve been given to speak in Wait Chapel,” Noe said.  “I’m really looking forward to it, as well.”

The Sept. 8 convocation service is open to the public and will begin at 11 a.m. in Wait Chapel on the Wake Forest campus. Doors open at 10 a.m. The convocation service will also be live streamed beginning at 11 a.m. at

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